Corona infection is currently spreading in China. The country has recorded a record number of infections in the last few months. Beijing also adopted a zero-tolerance policy to prevent the spread of the virus. A strict lockdown was imposed. But the policy had to be withdrawn in the face of public protests. Considering the current situation of the country, the US-based Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) said that in 2023, more than one million people may die in China due to corona.

China has suddenly lifted strict Covid-19 restrictions, IHME said. As a result, by 2023, the infection will spread at an alarming rate and if the situation worsens, more than 1 million deaths may occur.

IHME Director Christopher Murray was quoted by Reuters as saying that according to the organization’s estimates, the maximum number of patients will be detected in China around April 1. And at that time as many as 3 lakh 22 thousand may die. About a third of the country’s population will be infected by this time.

However, China’s National Health Authority has so far not officially reported any deaths of Covid-19 patients since the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions. The last official death was reported on December 3. With this, the total death toll due to the epidemic in the country stands at 5,235.

China lifted its toughest Covid restrictions in December after unprecedented protests and is now experiencing a wave of infections. It is feared that during the Lunar New Year holiday next month, Covid may spread among 1.4 billion people.

Other experts estimate that eventually as much as 60 percent of China’s population will be infected. They are expecting the peak infection in January. Among these are China’s large pool of susceptible individuals, use of less effective vaccines, and low vaccine coverage among those aged 80 and older, who are most at risk of serious disease.

Disease modelers at the University of Hong Kong predict that lifting Covid restrictions and simultaneously reopening all provinces from December 2022 to January 2023 would result in 684 deaths per million people over that period. The paper was published on the Medroxiv preprint server on Wednesday.

Another study, published in July 2022 in Nature Medicine by researchers at the School of Public Health at Fudan University in Shanghai, said the Omicron variant could cause about 1.55 million deaths within six months as Beijing eases restrictions. In this, ICU demand will increase at least 15.6 times more than the current capacity.

Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations, said 1.64 million people in China have diabetes, which puts them at risk of being severely affected by Covid-19. There are also 8 million people age 80 and older who have never been vaccinated.

China’s National Health Commission said on Friday it was ramping up vaccinations and stockpiling ventilators and essential medicines.

(Dhaka Times / 17 December / SAT)