China May See Over One Million COVID Deaths In 2023: Report

China May See Over One Million COVID Deaths In 2023: Report
Representational image sources: Freepik/The Sun

Amid the reports of surge in new COVID cases in China, social media has flooded with scary pictures of overburdened hospital beds, piled-up bodies, and long queues at crematorium sites.

The surge in cases is ringing alarms across the country days after Chinese authorities decided to scrap its strict zero COVID policy that had turned into an anti-Xi Jinping movement led by the citizens.

In a long and terrifying Twitter thread posted on December 19, Harvard epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding has warned that the COVID situation in China is worsening every day, and that this trajectory will continue as illnesses grow rapidly across the country. 

Dr Feigl-Ding, who is currently chief of the COVID Task Force at the New England Complex Systems Institute, estimates that more than 60 percent of China and 10 percent of Earth’s population are likely to be infected over the next 90 days, with deaths likely in the millions.

Citing a BBC report in his Twitter thread, Feigl-Ding said that schools are closed in Shanghai for the next month and in many other cities where the outbreak has been ghastly. He further added that malls and roads are being vacated due to rising infection cases.

Amid an expected surge in COVID cases, China is rushing to install hospital beds and build fever screening clinics across the country.

Over One Million Deaths Expected In 2023 

China has highly transmissible variants of Omicron prevalent in several major cities, which are spreading faster than any other countries. According to US-based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), the country could see over one million deaths during 2023.

According to local reports, the Chinese government claims that about 90 percent of the population over the age of 18 years has received two doses of the indigenously developed COVID vaccine. In such a situation, they may not have a serious illness, but there is definitely a risk of infection.

Scientists believe that the death toll in China will depend on people’s seriousness about the outbreak, and for that they need to follow strict COVID guidelines including voluntary quarantine.

It would be interesting to see how China’s health authorities will manage next year’s apparent COVID challenge in order to prevent more virus-related deaths. 

At the time of writing the story, on Tuesday,  China had reported five deaths, taking the official number of coronavirus fatalities to 5,242.

Reportedly, the number of people who get booster doses in China is quite less. Only about 50 percent of people above 60 years of age have gotten a booster dose. China’s focus has remained largely on quarantine and strict travel rules. Nearly three years later, after massive public protests, China lifted the travel restrictions only recently.

“Global Concern”

Meanwhile, the US has expressed its concern over the recent surge in COVID cases in China. US State Department spokesperson Ned Price, on Monday, has called China’s current situation a “global concern”.

“The toll of the virus is of concern to the rest of the world given the size of China’s GDP, given the size of China’s economy,” said Price during a daily briefing.

“It’s not only good for China to be in a stronger position vis-a-vis COVID but it’s good for the rest of the world as well,” he added.


Read more: China Reports Over 2000 Cases of New Omicron Sub-Variant With Greater Transmissibility

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