Corona Concern over virus mutations and millions of corona deaths in China

Beijing/Singapore/Berlin, December 20 – After China’s departure from the strict “zero Covid policy”, there are growing concerns of a gigantic corona wave with hundreds of millions infected in the People’s Republic in a few weeks – and millions of deaths. Cities across the country were therefore hard at work on Tuesday to create additional hospital beds and extra treatment capacity. The decision by President Xi Jinping’s government to relax the previously extremely strict regime has caught the health system completely off guard.

Other countries are also affected, in particular because of the possible impact on the economy and trade. A spokesperson for the US State Department has highlighted the danger that a large-scale spread of Covid in China could lead to dangerous new mutations of the virus. It is “a threat to people everywhere”. Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach spoke on Twitter of a “very worrying situation in China”.

After the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020, China locked down entire cities in the event of minor corona outbreaks. But in early December the strict course was relaxed after protests over the restrictions also called for the downfall of President Xi – a process previously unheard of in China. Now some clinics are overcrowded, pharmacies are empty and many people are self-isolating. In Beijing, which has emerged as the main focus of infection, commuters – sometimes coughing into their masks – got back on trains to work on Tuesday. The streets have come back to life after being largely deserted recently.

In Shanghai, on the other hand, the subways were only half full. “People stay away because they are sick or afraid of getting sick,” said Yang, a trainer at a nearly empty gymnasium in the city. “But I think the main reason they’re staying away now is that they’re actually sick.”

“Each new epidemic wave in another country carries the risk of new variants, and this risk is higher the larger the epidemic,” Alex Cook, a public health expert at the National University of Singapore, also describes the dangers of opening. for the global community. “And the current wave in China has what it takes to be big.” However, China must inevitably endure a major corona wave if it wants to achieve an endemic state of its population and a future without confinement during corona epidemics.

The government reported five new virus-related deaths on Tuesday, up from two on Monday. According to official information, this was the first corona death for weeks. Overall, China, with its roughly 1.4 billion people, has reported just 5,242 coronavirus-related deaths since the outbreak of the pandemic in early 2020 – a negligible number in a global comparison. The USA alone has reported over a million corona deaths, in Germany there are over 160,000.

But there are growing doubts about the Chinese statistics. In Beijing, for example, security forces stood at the entrance to a crematorium where Reuters reporters saw scores of hearses and workers in protective gear carrying the dead inside on Saturday. Some health experts estimate that 60% of the population in China – or 10% of the world’s population – could be infected in the coming months and more than two million people could die from it.

The virus is also weighing on China’s economy, which is expected to grow just 3% this year – the smallest increase in nearly half a century. Illness of workers and truckers slows production and fills gaps in logistics. It can also be felt around the world.

Health Minister Lauterbach referred to a message on Twitter that a corona wave with millions of deaths is likely to occur in China within the next 90 days. “This is just the beginning,” the shared tweet said. A video was also linked to it that showed unconscious people on ventilators in cramped hospital beds and sometimes lying on the floor.

Concern over virus mutations and millions of corona deaths in China

Source: Reuters

Photo Symbol: Image by Allison Barnett on Pixabay

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