250 Million Cases in 20 Days? Leaked Documents Estimate 18% China’s Population Infected in December
Last Updated: December 25, 2022, 11:02 IST
Covid-19 coronavirus patients lie on hospital beds in the lobby of the Chongqing No. 5 People’s Hospital in China’s southwestern city of Chongqing on December 23, 2022. (AFP)
The report said that China recorded 37 million Covid infections on Tuesday alone. However, the figure contradicted the official number of 3,049 new infections reported that day
Around 250 million people in China may have caught Covid-19 in the first 20 days of December, multiple reports have said according to an internal estimate from the nation’s top health officials.
If the estimates are correct, then it accounts for around 18 percent of China’s 1.4 billion population and becomes the largest Covid-19 outbreak ever recorded across the globe, Bloomberg News and the Financial Times reported Friday.
The reports said that the figures were presented during an internal meeting of National Health Commission (NHC) on Wednesday.
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The figures are in stark contrast to the public data of the NHC, which reported just 62,592 symptomatic Covid cases in the first twenty days of December.
A copy of the NHC meeting notes was circulated on Chinese social media on Friday. However, the authenticity of the document could not be established.
The report said that China recorded 37 million Covid infections on Tuesday alone. However, the figure contradicted the official number of 3,049 new infections reported that day.
Meanwhile, the NHC has stopped publishing daily Covid-19 data on Sunday, amid doubts about their reliability as infections have exploded in the wake of an abrupt easing of tough restrictions.
“Relevant COVID information will be published by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention for reference and research,” the commission said in a statement, without specifying the reasons for the change or how frequently China CDC will update COVID information.
Despite the record surge of infections, the NHC had reported no COVID deaths nationwide for four consecutive days before halting the data release. It reported only eight Covid deaths this month.
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China has narrowed its definition for reporting COVID deaths, counting only those from COVID-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure, raising eyebrows among world health experts.
People in China are also now using rapid antigen tests to detect infections and are under no obligation to report positive results.
Cities across the country have struggled to cope as surging infections have emptied pharmacy shelves, filled hospital wards and appeared to cause backlogs at crematoriums and funeral homes.
Earlier reports said that China is likely experiencing 1 million Covid infections and 5,000 virus deaths every day amid the biggest outbreak the world has ever seen, reports said last week.
The daily new cases could increase to 3.7 million by next month and a frightening 4.2 million by March, the report added.
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