Battling BF.7: Will the virus steal this Christmas too?

Vivek Mishra
Vivek MishraDec 22, 2022 | 11:50

Battling BF.7: Will the virus steal this Christmas too?

As the Covid-19 cases in China are seeing a huge surge due to the new sub-variant of Omicron, BF.7, it feels like deja vu. By the end of 2019, Covid cases were being seen only in China's Wuhan and not many were considering it to be a serious threat.

But the coronavirus turned into one of the worst pandemics ever and caused millions of deaths around the world and changed the way we live our lives. So it is very normal for people to panic when they see videos from China and warnings from epidemiologists about another Covid wave.


Warnings from epidemiologists: What has made the rest of the world worried is that an epidemiologist, Eric Feigl-Ding, has made some big claims. He has said that due to the surge in Covid cases in China, deaths are likely to be more than a million.

  • He also said that 60% of China & 10% of the earth's population are likely to be infected over the next 90 days.
  • Epidemiologist Wu Zunyou has said that he believes the current spike in Covid infections in China would run until mid-January, while the second wave would then be triggered by mass travel in January around the week-long Lunar New Year celebrations which begins on 21 January, reported BBC.
  • The third surge in cases, according to him, would run from late February to mid-March as people return to work after the holiday.


Devastation in China: Some residents in Beijing are waiting for days to cremate relatives or paying steep fees to secure timely services, funeral home workers said, Reuters reported.

  • Eric Feigl-Ding wrote on Twitter that cremations are happening in Beijing nonstop and morgues are overloaded. "Refrigerated containers needed. 24/7 funerals. 2000 bodies backlogged for cremations. Sound familiar? It is spring 2020 all over again- but this time for China, emulating a more Western-mass infection approach," he wrote.

Hospitals in China are overwhelmed ever since the zero-Covid restrictions were dropped. A Twitter thread shows how a girl went to three hospitals but didn't get a bed and her father died.

What is BF.7? The BF.7 is an abbreviated form for BA. It is a sub-variant of the BA.5 Omicron variant of Covid. The BF.7 variant is reportedly more infectious than the other variants of coronavirus known so far.

  • The variant is reportedly capable of infecting even those fully vaccinated against the virus. The variant is believed to have a reproduction value, which means persons infected with the BF.7 variant are very likely to transmit the virus to others.


Situation in India: India has so far reported four cases of BF.7 since July. These cases were confirmed by official sources in the health ministry on Wednesday (December 21). While three have been detected in Gujarat, one case has been traced to Odisha.

What is India doing? PM Narendra Modi will review the situation related to Covid-19 in the country at a high-level meeting today (December 22) afternoon.

  • Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on Wednesday reviewed the situation and asked people to follow Covid-appropriate behaviour and said that the pandemic is not over yet.
  • Indian states have been directed to bolster the surveillance system for whole genome sequencing of positive case samples to track the variants through the Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium (INSACOG) network to ensure timely detection of newer variants that may be circulating in the country, reported India Today.


What led to the surge in China: The Covid spike happened after the Chinese government's decision to lift the strict restrictions, including quarantine and isolation protocols. The zero-Covid policy had almost insulated China's 1.4 billion people but it had also led to huge protests in the country.

The protests started in late November in Chinese cities after the containment measures were blamed for deaths after a fire in the Xinjiang region.


WHO 'very concerned': At a press briefing on Wednesday, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the agency is "very concerned" about rising reports of severe coronavirus disease across China but needs more information on the severity in China, particularly regarding hospital and intensive care unit admissions.

"WHO is very concerned over the evolving situation in China with increasing reports of severe disease," Tedros said. He also that while Covid deaths have dropped more than 90% since their global peak.

Last updated: December 22, 2022 | 11:50
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