According to a study carried out by the federally-funded Fred Hutchinson Cancer Centre in Seattle, China’s sudden lifting of the strict COVID-19 regime led to the spread of the virus among the 1.4 billion residents of the country which resulted in the deaths of around 2 million people in the next 2 months. This study is based on a sample of mortality data found on the internet and also which was published by some universities in China.
COVID curbs which included stringent quarantine lockdowns
The study found that around 1.87 million excess deaths were related to health issues that were faced by people above the age of 30 years between December 2022 and January 2023, and were observed in many provinces in mainland China except Tibet. The decision of China to suddenly lift the COVID curbs which included stringent quarantine lockdowns and mass testing led to massive increase in deaths and hospitalisations which according to experts went largely unreported.
The study, which was published in JAMA Network Open, stated that the number of excess deaths went far beyond the estimates of the official Chinese government in January that put the death toll at 60,000 in hospitals after they abandoned the zero-COVID policy a month earlier. Statistical analysis was done by the researchers using published obituaries and information found using the Chinese search engine, Baidu.
“Our study of excess deaths related to the lifting of the zero-COVID policy in China sets an empirically derived benchmark estimate. These findings are important for understanding how the sudden propagation of COVID-19 across a population may impact population mortality,” wrote researchers.
The virus is still making rounds in China, and Beijing health officials on Thursday (August 24) said that COVID is still the biggest infectious disease in the capital, as per the Chinese state media. Officials stated that a new Omicron variant, called EG.5, which has been nicknamed “Eris”, after the Greek Goddess of strife and discord, has been a dominant strain across the country.
“The National Bureau of Disease Control and Prevention said the proportion of the new variant EG.5 increased from 0.6% in April to 71.6% in August, becoming the dominant strain in most provinces in China,” reported the Global Times.
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