Half a million people are infected with covid-19 every day in a Chinese city, a local health authority reported, a rare recognition of the wave of infections that do not appear in official statistics, as reported this Saturday (12.24.2022). .
A Communist Party-run news outlet in Qingdao quoted the municipal health chief as saying the eastern city is registering “between 490,000 and 530,000” new COVID-19 cases a day.
The coastal city of about 10 million people is facing “a period of rapid transmission and is approaching a peak,” Bo Tao was quoted as saying. He anticipated that the infection rate would accelerate 10% over the weekend.
China began dismantling major components of its zero-Covid strategy this month, lifting lockdowns, quarantines and travel restrictions.
The end of mandatory testing made it impossible to trace infections, prompting authorities to change the medical definition of a death from covid-19, which experts say will reduce the number of deaths attributable to the virus.
Meanwhile, in cities across China, pharmacy shelves are empty, hospitals are filling up, and crematoriums and funeral homes are barely making ends meet.
The report on Qingdao was shared by various other outlets, but appeared to have been redacted on Saturday to suppress the number of infections.
China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said on Saturday that the country recorded 4,103 new coronavirus infections on Saturday with no new deaths.
Most of the government-controlled media have downplayed the severity of the wave of infections and instead point to the policy change as logical and coordinated.
But the government of the eastern province of Jiangxi said on social media on Friday that 80% of its population, some 36 million people, would be infected by March.
jc (afp, Reuters)