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New wave of Covid in China surges, experts say millions may die

Amid the news of the Chinese government implementing strict measures, even to the point of violence breaking out in several places, there are concerns now that the world’s most populous country may be facing a major Covid wave.

The Chinese government has not been very transparent about the Covid cases, the origin of the virus from Wuhan’s research lab and the massive quarantine camps which keep appearing in allegedly ‘leaked’ videos on social media.

The BBC quoted epidemiologist Wu Zunyou as saying that this may be the beginning of a ‘first wave’. He has predicted that the second wave will be in late January when mass travel due to the Chinese New Year celebrations will spread infection. The Third wave is likely to hit from late February to mid-March as millions of people return after the holidays, as per Zunyou.

The govt of China reported only 2097 cases on Sunday, but there is a general mistrust around those numbers.

A US-based research organisation named the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) has announced recently that Beijing’s decision to abruptly lift restrictions combating its spread could facilitate a rapid spike and spread of the virus, causing widespread deaths. IHME Director Christopher Murray has stated that about a third of China’s population may get infected and the country may see over 322,000 deaths by April 2023.

Experts have stated that China’s strict lockdown measures may have deprived the population of natural immunity.

There are some claims in social media about hospitals being overwhelmed and mortuaries continuously busy handling recent deaths. But there are no official confirmations.

Eric Feigl Ding, an epidemiologist, has shared that the current infection wave in China may trigger a total shutdown and severely impact global trade.

Over concerns of a new, more infectious variant of the Coronavirus, a report in NPR stated that the current wave is spreading much faster. Yale-based health researcher Xi Chen was quoted as saying the CDC China has predicted 60% of the country’s population to be infected in the next 90 days.

Scientists at China National Health Commission have reportedly estimated that the R number, an indication of the number of people one infected person gives the virus to, for the current variant, is 16. This is higher than all the previous waves of the pandemic globally.

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