China records its first deaths after easing its “zero covid” policy

▲ Dozens of people line up to take rapid tests for the virus in Mexico and ask for their disability at the IMSS.Photo Roberto Garcia Ortiz

Afp and Reuters

Newspaper La Jornada
Tuesday December 20, 2022, p. 16

Peking. China registered its first deaths yesterday since the easing of the strict measures of its policy of zero covidat a time when Beijing’s hospitals and crematoriums are overwhelmed by an unprecedented wave of cases.

The Asian giant took a radical turn at the beginning of December and lifted most of the sanitary restrictions, in force for almost three years, when the first cases of coronavirus were detected in the city of Wuhan (center).

Since the policy change, the covid-19 epidemic has exploded in China. But its scope is impossible to determine, even authorities admit that screening tests are no longer mandatory.

Experts fear the country is ill-prepared for the wave of infections linked to this reopening, while millions of older and vulnerable people are still unvaccinated.

For now, the United States government indicated that it hopes China can cope with the current outbreak of covid-19, since the number of victims of the virus is a global concern due to the size of its economy.

The State Department spokesman, Ned Price, pointed out that “the number of victims of SARS-CoV-2 is cause for concern for the rest of the planet, given the size of China’s GDP and its economy (…) It is not only It’s good for them to be in a stronger position against covid, it’s also good for the rest of the world.”

He added that whenever the virus spreads it has the potential to mutate and pose a threat everywhere. We have seen it throughout many different permutations of the coronavirus and it is certainly another reason why we are so focused on helping nations around the world cope with covid-19.he stated.

Health authorities reported the deaths of two patients in Beijing yesterday, the only ones so far since the restrictions were lifted on December 7, according to official figures.

Since then, the capital and its 22 million inhabitants have been particularly affected by a wave of contamination unprecedented since the beginning of the pandemic and which has spread rapidly in recent days.

Official figures, below the real ones: specialists

Hospital deaths are reported to be on the rise and also from overburdened crematoriums, while flu medicines are lacking in pharmacies.

The (official) figures do not tell everythingsays Leong Hoe Nam, a Singapore-based infectious disease expert, who says he expected a much higher figure.

For him, some hospitals are too full to receive new patients, while the importance of covid-19 may have been downplayed by health personnel.

As a result, if someone dies of a heart attack after the stress of an infection by covid, then the heart attack will be the main (retained) cause of death, even if the virus is the underlying causeLeong told Afp.

One of the country’s top epidemiologists, Wu Zunyou, warned that China faced the first of three waves of covid-19 expected for this winter.

The current wave is expected to last until mid-January, mainly affecting cities, before travel related to the Lunar New Year (January 22) holiday triggers a second one in February.

The third peak will occur between late February and mid-March, when people infected during the holidays return to their workplaces, Wu told the economic daily. caijing.

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