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China will suffer more than 1 million COVID deaths in 2023, predicts new model


China could experience more than a million deaths caused by the spread of COVID next year, according to a new projection.

The US-based Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) announced Friday that Beijing’s decision to abruptly lift restrictions to combat its spread could facilitate a rapid rise and spread of the virus, leading to deaths. widespread.

An imminent spike in infection could affect around a third of China’s population and cause an estimated 322,000 deaths by April 1, IHME director Christopher Murray said, according to Reuters.

People wait in line at a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing center in Xinyang, China, this still image obtained from a social media video posted on December 15, 2022.
(Video obtained by REUTERS)

China previously maintained some of the world’s toughest COVID restrictions, claiming to have maintained a near-zero death rate since the start of the global pandemic in 2019. China lifted the restrictions earlier this month following public riots and protests. .

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An increase of more than a million deaths would far exceed China’s pandemic death total, as it officially reports only 5,235 deaths in the past three years.

“Since the original Wuhan outbreak, China has hardly reported any deaths. That is why we look at Hong Kong to get an idea of ​​the infection fatality rate,” Murray said on Friday when the IHME projections were released.

For comparison, the United States officially reports that it has more than 1.1 million COVID deaths, which included a period from December 2021 to January 2021, where it averaged thousands of deaths per day.

A resident receives a nasal spray vaccine as a second booster dose against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a vaccination site in Beijing, China, on December 16, 2022.

A resident receives a nasal spray vaccine as a second booster dose against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at a vaccination site in Beijing, China, on December 16, 2022.
(cnsphoto via REUTERS)

In Europe, the UK reports just under 200,000 deaths; Italy reports just over 180,000 deaths; France and Germany report approximately 160,000 deaths each; and Spain and Portugal report having 116,000 and 25,000, respectively, according to Worldometers.

“No one thought they would stay at zero-COVID for that long,” added Murray, who said COVID cases eventually rose because the Omicron variant is more infectious.

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The IHME model uses vaccination rates provided by the Chinese government and population metrics to determine how the infection rate increases.

Another prediction model shows a similar number of deaths, in a more accelerated time frame.

The lifting of COVID restrictions and the simultaneous reopening of regions in December 2022 through January 2023 would result in 684 deaths per million people, or 964,000 deaths, during that time period, according to a paper published by the University of Hong Kong. Kong on Wednesday, Reuters reported.

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A medical worker delivers fever medicine to a resident at a makeshift fever clinic set up inside a stadium, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China, December 14, 2022.

A medical worker delivers fever medicine to a resident at a makeshift fever clinic set up inside a stadium, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing, China, December 14, 2022.
(China Daily via REUTERS)

The document has not yet been peer reviewed.

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Yet another forecast from researchers at the Fudan University School of Public Health in Shanghai predicted that an unrestricted wave of COVID would lead to 1.55 million deaths in half a year.

Beijing continues to encourage its population to be cautious and stay vaccinated and boosted.



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