While for the rest of the world Covid seems to be all but over, China is still struggling with the pandemic. The country on Monday (December 20) reported first Covid deaths since December 3, but the official count is being questioned.
More than a million deaths? 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.
⚠️THERMONUCLEAR BAD—Hospitals completely overwhelmed in China ever since restrictions dropped. Epidemiologist estimate >60% of 🇨🇳 & 10% of Earth’s population likely infected over next 90 days. Deaths likely in the millions—plural. This is just the start—🧵pic.twitter.com/VAEvF0ALg9— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) December 19, 2022
He also said that 60% of China & 10% of earth's population is likely to be infected over the next 90 days.
Hospitals overwhelmed: Eric Feigl-Ding has said that hospitals in China are completely overwhelmed ever since the zero-Covid restrictions were dropped.
1. Sorry, no time to do English subtitles, but here is a summary of what this girl in #Beijing says: On Dec 17, My dad was very sick. We went to 3 hospitals to no avail. 1st hospital is Chaoyang Hospital. Minimum waiting time 4 hours. We had to go to 2nd one, Huayin Hospital. pic.twitter.com/h1hzZ0wXnS— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) December 19, 2022
A Twitter thread shows how a girl went to three hospitals but didn't get a bed and her father died. She tells in a video that many elderly people are waiting in hospitals and outside medical stores.
second part of her video: pic.twitter.com/UlZC1CoEyc— Jennifer Zeng 曾錚 (@jenniferzeng97) December 19, 2022
Three winter waves: 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 begin 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.
Deaths being underreported: According to a report, the deaths in mainland China are being hugely underreported outside of China. The report says that more than 2,700 people have died at home in Beijing alone.
On Saturday, Reuters journalists witnessed hearses lined up outside a designated Covid crematorium in Beijing and workers in hazmat suits carrying the dead inside the facility.
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.
5) Example—cremation in Beijing nonstop. 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 more Western-mass infection approach. 🤦🏻♂️ pic.twitter.com/qppg1o6n9k— Eric Feigl-Ding (@DrEricDing) December 19, 2022
US worried about new variants: The US is concerned that the surge in Covid cases in China's might spawn new mutations of the virus, reported Bloomberg.
"When it comes to the current outbreak in China, we want to see this addressed," State Department spokesman Ned Price said in a briefing on Monday. "We know that anytime the virus is spreading in the wild that it has the potential to mutate and to pose a threat to people everywhere."
What led to the surge: 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.
China's Covid numbers: Officially China has suffered just 5,237 Covid-related deaths during the pandemic, which is nothing when compared to other countries. But the original numbers could be much higher."The (official) number is clearly an undercount of Covid deaths," said Yanzhong Huang, a global health specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank.
China's vaccination rate is above 90%, but the rate for adults who have received booster shots is just 57.9%. And only 42.3% for people aged 80 and above have received booster shots.