60% of Chinese likely to get Covid, millions could die: top epidemiologist

60% of Chinese likely to get Covid, millions could die: top epidemiologist

China has reported no Covid deaths in Beijing since November. (File)


After easing Covid-19 restrictions, China is seeing a massive spike in coronavirus cases. Hospitals in China are completely overwhelmed, reports Eric Feigl-Ding, epidemiologist and health economist.

The epidemiologist estimates that more than 60 percent of China’s population and 10 percent of the world’s population will likely be infected in the next 90 days, with deaths in the millions.

One of Beijing’s designated crematoria for Covid-19 patients has been inundated with corpses in recent days as the virus swept through the Chinese capital, offering an early indication of the human cost of the country’s abrupt easing of pandemic restrictions, Wall Street reported Journal (WSJ)

According to Feigl-Ding, the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) goal is to “infect everyone who needs to be infected, let everyone who needs to die die.” Early infections, early deaths, early peak, early resumption of production.”

China has not reported any Covid deaths in Beijing since authorities announced four deaths between November 19 and 23. China’s cabinet information office, the State Council, did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent late Friday.

Beijing’s Dongjiao Crematorium, on the eastern edge of the Chinese capital, has seen a spike in requests for cremation and other funeral services, according to staff working at the site, WSJ reported.

“We’ve been overwhelmed with work since Covid reopened,” said a woman who answered the phone at the crematorium on Friday, adding: “Right now it’s 24 hours a day. We can’t keep up.”

The woman said the Dongjiao Crematorium, which is run by the Beijing Municipal Government and designated by the National Health Commission to treat Covid-positive cases, received so many bodies that it conducted cremations in the morning hours and in the middle of the night. “There’s no other way,” she said.

She estimated that about 200 bodies arrived at the crematorium each day, up from 30 or 40 bodies on a typical day. The increased workload has taken a toll on crematorium staff, many of whom have contracted the fast-spreading virus in recent days, she said.

Men working at the site, which includes a funeral hall and a small complex of shops selling funeral clothes, flowers, caskets, urns and other funeral items, said the number of bodies had increased significantly in recent days, although none would offer an estimate of the magnitude of the increase, WSJ reported.

The doubling time in China may not be more than days. The doubling time might be “hours” now, some experts say – let that sink in. R is difficult to calculate when the doubling is less than 1 day because it is difficult to do a PCR test that quickly. The point is China and the world is in deep trouble, Feigl-Ding said.

In addition, deaths in mainland China are massively underreported. According to a survey of hospitals, undertakers and related funeral industry chains in Beijing recently, there has been an explosion in funeral services caused by the sharp rise in deaths.

According to the epidemiologist, the cremation in Beijing is continuous. Morgues are overloaded. refrigerated container required. 24/7 funerals. 2000 bodies in backlog for cremation. Sound familiar? It’s spring 2020 again – but this time for China, which is emulating a more Western approach to mass infection.

People rushed to a pharmaceutical factory to buy ibuprofen because it’s completely out of stock elsewhere.

One said that normally all the bodies of the day would be cremated by noon. But the recent increase in the number of bodies has meant that cremations are now taking place long after dark.

In a series of abrupt moves, China this month dismantled much of the lockdown, testing and quarantine regulations that have underpinned its “zero Covid” approach for the past three years to quell even small outbreaks of the virus.

With testing requirements lifted, the scale of the coronavirus surge in China has been difficult to measure. Daily national case counts have been falling steadily as fewer people are testing themselves in public facilities, and health officials earlier this week stopped releasing daily asymptomatic cases for the first time since the pandemic began.

Earlier this month, the Beijing Emergency Medical Center urged only critically ill patients to call ambulances, saying emergency calls had increased from an average of about 5,000 to 30,000 a day, straining paramedics’ capacity to respond, WSJ reported.

Under National Health Commission regulations, bodies diagnosed or suspected of being Covid-positive must be cremated immediately in specially designated ovens, without dressing the bodies or holding funeral services.

But many of China’s 1.4 billion people remain vulnerable to the virus due to limited exposure, low vaccination rates and little investment in emergency care.

(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and was published by a syndicated feed.)

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