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How many people could die, and why, under China’s easing of COVID curbs. According to Reuters



© Reuters. Workers sort drugs at a logistics center of China Resources Pharmaceutical Group, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China December 19 2022. cnsphoto via REUTERS

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s abrupt end to its COVID-free policy has raised concerns about widespread infection among vulnerable, unvaccinated and less able populations. natural immunity, which would overload the health system and lead to 2 million deaths, or more, according to various studies. groups are reporting.

New analyzes by different modeling groups predict reopening could result in 2.1 million deaths.

As of Monday, China had officially reported 5,237 COVID-related deaths during the pandemic, a tiny fraction of its population of 1.4 billion.

Here are some estimates:

MORE THAN 2 MILLION

Zhou Jiatong, head of the Center for Disease Control in the southwestern region of Guangxi, said last month in an article published in the Shanghai Journal of Preventive Medicine that mainland China would face more than 2 million deaths if COVID curbs are eased in the same way that Hong Kong did. This year.

His forecast suggests the number of infections could rise to more than 233 million.

1.55 MILLION

In May, scientists in China and the United States estimated that China risks dying from COVID of just over 1.5 million people if it abandons its tough no-COVID policy without any measures. protections such as increased vaccinations and access to treatments, according to the study, published in the journal Nature Medicine.

They forecast that peak demand for intensive care would be more than 15 times capacity, causing about 1.5 million deaths, based on worldwide data collected on variable severity. body.

However, the researchers, the lead authors of which are from Fudan University in China, said the death toll could be drastically reduced if the focus was on vaccination.

UP TO 2.1 MILLION

British scientific information and analytics company Airfinity said in late November that China could see 1.3 million to 2.1 million deaths if it lifted its COVID-free policy due to injection rates. low vaccination and booster vaccination rates as well as lack of hybrid immunity.

The company said it modeled its data on Hong Kong’s BA.1 wave in February, which occurred after the city eased restrictions after two years.

MORE THAN 1 MILLION

The US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), part of the University of Washington, in an updated model said Friday that it expected more than 1 million cases. deaths until 2023. The group predicts cases will peak in April, when deaths will have reached 322,000.

IHME director Christopher Murray said about a third of China’s population would be infected by that time.

A modeling team at the University of Hong Kong estimates the simultaneous reopening of all provinces from December 2022 to January 2023 will result in 684 deaths per million people, according to an article released today. Wednesday on the Medrxiv preprint server has yet to be peer-reviewed.

Based on China’s population of 1.41 billion and without measures such as a mass vaccination campaign, this numbered to 964,400 deaths.



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