China claims ‘decisive victory’ over Covid amid doubts over numbers


More than 200 million people have been treated for viruses and the death rate is now “the lowest in the world,” the government says

The Chinese government has declared a “decisive victory” in the fight against Covid-19 and claims it has created “a miracle in the history of human civilization” by successfully leading China through the global pandemic.

The comments were made at a meeting chaired by President Xi Jinping on Thursday. The government said more than 200 million people had been treated for Covid and that China’s death rate from coronavirus was “the lowest level in the world”.

China’s National Health Commission stopped releasing data on Covid cases and deaths on December 25 after the government suddenly rescinded the draconian zero-Covid policy that had restricted freedom of movement in the country for nearly three years.

On February 9, it said 83,150 people had died from Covid, which would be an unusually low rate for a country grappling with a wave of the Omicron variant. But there are plenty of other indicators to suggest that the virus has swept through China since December, causing a far higher number of illnesses and deaths than official data suggests.

Chinese authorities only count Covid deaths in hospitals, an approach that the World Health Organization says underestimates the true number. There have been reports of doctors being pressured to omit Covid from death certificates. And mass testing has largely been abandoned. The number of daily tests fell from 150 million on December 9 to 280,000 on January 23. “We still don’t know how many were infected and how many died at home,” said Prof Jin Dong-Yan, a virologist at the University of Hong Kong.

Since December, hospitals and morgues have been inundated with patients and corpses. Using models based on age distribution and vaccination rates in China, Zhanwei Du and Lauren Ancel Meyers of the University of Texas at Austin estimate that 1.5 million people died from Covid between December 16 and January 19 are.

The US, whose population is 334 million versus China’s 1.4 billion, has reported just over 1.1 million deaths from Covid since the pandemic began. Europe, home to about 750 million people, has suffered 2 million deaths.

Drugs to treat Covid have become scarce. Pharmacists in several cities have reportedly opened boxes of ibuprofen and acetaminophen to break them up into smaller batches to serve more customers.

The drug Paxlovid, developed by Pfizer, is particularly coveted, and its prices on the illegal market are skyrocketing. Agence France-Presse reported that a vendor charged 18,000 yuan (£2,190) for a single box in January, as many desperate patients went abroad to source the drug.

In January, Xi expressed concern that domestic travel during the Lunar New Year holiday, when hundreds of millions of people traveled home, many for the first time in three years, could spread the virus. However, the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention later said that Covid cases peaked in late December and the spread of the virus “did not recover significantly” over the Lunar New Year.

China’s omicron wave may have peaked. But without proper testing, gathering accurate statistics on the spread of the disease would be “challenging,” Jin said.


{{top left}}

{{bottom left}}

{{top right}}

{{bottom right}}





{{#choiceCards}}{{/choiceCards}}We will contact you to remind you to contribute. Look for a message in your inbox in . If you have any questions about the post, please contact us.