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250 Million Covid-19 Infections Estimated In China this December

250 Million Covid-19 Infections Estimated In China this December.

Bloomberg News and the Financial Times reported on Friday that about 250 million Chinese citizens may have contracted COVID-19 in the first 20 days of December, according to an internal estimate from the nation’s top health experts.

If accurate, the number, which CNN cannot independently confirm, would constitute the greatest Covid-19 outbreak to yet, affecting about 18% of China’s 1.4 billion people.

The alleged data were presented at an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission (NHC) on Wednesday, according to both news outlets, which cited sources who knew about the topic or who took part in the discussions.

According to the meeting summary, the NHC conference on Wednesday focused on the care of patients afflicted by the latest outbreak.

The legitimacy of the paper has not been confirmed, and the NHC did not immediately react to CNN’s request for comment, which occurred on Friday.

Both the Financial Times and Bloomberg provided extensive coverage of the authorities’ deliberations regarding the outbreak’s management.

In both reports, it was estimated that 37 million Chinese citizens were freshly infected with the Covid-19 virus on Tuesday alone.

This starkly contrasted to the official figure of 3,049 newly reported infections that day.

The Financial Times said that Sun Yang, an assistant director at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, provided the statistics to officials during the closed-door briefing, citing two individuals with knowledge of the situation.

Sun told the Financial Times that the rate at which COVID-19 was spreading in China was still going up and that he thought more than half of the people in Beijing and Sichuan were already infected.

The projections reflect China’s move at the beginning of December to unexpectedly abandon its nearly three-year-old stringent zero-Covid policy.

In the first twenty days of December, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHES) reported just 62,592 symptomatic Covid cases.

It is unclear how the NHC arrived at the estimates cited by Bloomberg and the Financial Times.

China is no longer officially tallying its total number of infections after authorities shut down their nationwide network of PCR testing booths and announced they would stop collecting data on asymptomatic cases.

People in China increasingly use fast antigen testing to diagnose illnesses, but they are not required to report positive results.

Officially, China has reported only eight Covid deaths this month, which is a startlingly low number considering the virus’ rapid spread and the comparatively low vaccination rates among the elderly.

Based on data released by the NHC on December 14, CNN found that only 42.3% of people in China who were 80 or older had received a third vaccination dose.

In response to rising criticism that it is understating the number of Covid deaths, the Chinese government defended the veracity of its official tally by disclosing that it had revised its method for calculating the number of fatalities caused by the virus.

Wang Guiqiang, a leading infectious disease physician, stated at a news conference on Tuesday that, according to the most recent NHC guidelines, only deaths caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure after getting the virus are categorized as Covid deaths.

According to both stories and the document accessed by CNN, the minutes of the NHC meeting held behind closed doors on Wednesday did not mention the number of deaths in China.

“The numbers look plausible, but I have no other sources of data to compare [them] with. If the estimated infection numbers mentioned here are accurate, it means the nationwide peak will occur within the next week,” Ben Cowling, a professor of epidemiology at the University of Hong Kong told CNN in an emailed statement, when asked about the purported NHC estimates.

250 Million Covid-19 Infections Estimated In China this December.



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