China Estimates Covid Surge Is Infecting 37 Million People a Day

According to estimates by the top health authority of the Chinese government, nearly 37 million people may have contracted Covid-19 in China in a single day. This makes China’s outbreak the largest in the world.

According to the minutes of an internal meeting held by China’s National Health Commission on Wednesday, 248 million people (or nearly 18% of the total population) may have contracted the virus during the first 20 days in December. This was confirmed with people who were involved in the discussions. If the infection rate is accurate, it would surpass the January 2022 daily record of approximately 4 million.

The rapid removal of Covid Zero limitations in Beijing has allowed for the spread of highly contagious Omicron variants among a population with low natural immunity. According to agency estimates, more than half of Sichuan’s residents and Beijing’s capital have been infected.

It is not clear how the Chinese health regulator arrived at its estimate. The country closed down its once widespread network of PCR testing stations earlier this month. It was difficult to determine the exact infection rate in other countries during this pandemic. This is because it was impossible to get laboratory tests that were not easily accessible and home testing provided results that weren’t collected centrally.

Bloomberg News faxed a request for comment to the NHC, but they didn’t respond. The newly established National Disease Control Bureau of the commission, which oversees Covid’s response, didn’t return phone calls or faxes Friday.

China’s rapid antigen testing system is now being used to detect infection. However, they don’t have to report any positive results. The government has stopped publishing daily numbers of asymptomatic patients.

Based on online keyword searches, Chen Qin (chief economist at data consultancy MetroDataTech) predicts that China’s current wave would peak in mid-December or late January in most cities. According to his model, the reopening surge has already been responsible for millions of infections per day, with the highest case counts in Shenzhen and Shanghai, respectively.

It was not noted in the minutes that any discussion about how many people had died. Ma Xiaowei (head of the NHC) reaffirmed the narrower definition that was used to count Covid deaths. He acknowledged that death will occur as the virus spreads quickly, but he stressed that only those who are afflicted by Covid-induced pneumonia should be included.

Officials stated that Beijing, which was the first to be affected by the outbreak, is now experiencing severe and serious Covid case spikes despite its overall infection rate decreasing. The outbreak is now spreading to rural China from urban centers. The agency advised all regions to be prepared for severe diseases.

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