"Thermonuclear Bad": Top Epidemiologist sounds the Alarm on Covid Spike in China

Society » HEALTH | December 20, 2022, Tuesday // 10:25
Bulgaria: "Thermonuclear Bad": Top Epidemiologist sounds the Alarm on Covid Spike in China @caixin.com

After the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, China is experiencing a massive surge in coronavirus cases. Hospitals are completely overwhelmed in China, reported Eric Feigl-Ding, an epidemiologist and health economist.

The epidemiologist estimates that more than 60 percent of China and 10 percent of Earth's population are likely to be infected over the next 90 days with deaths likely in the millions. One of Beijing's designated crematoria for Covid-19 patients has been flooded with dead bodies in recent days as the virus sweeps through the Chinese capital, offering an early hint at the human cost of the country's abrupt loosening of pandemic restrictions, reported Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

According to Feigl-Ding, the Chinese Communist Party's (CCP) goal is "let whoever needs to be infected, infected, let whoever needs to die, die. Early infections, early deaths, early peak, early resumption of production."

China has reported no Covid deaths in Beijing since the authorities announced four deaths between November 19 and 23. The information office for China's cabinet, the State Council, didn't immediately respond to a request for comment sent late on Friday.

Beijing Dongjiao Crematory, on the eastern edge of the Chinese capital, has experienced a jump in requests for cremation and other funerary services, according to people who work at the compound, reported WSJ.

"Since the Covid reopening, we've been overloaded with work," 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 Dongjiao Crematory, which is operated by Beijing municipality and which the National Health Commission has designated to handle Covid-positive cases, was receiving so many bodies that it was conducting cremations in the predawn hours and in the middle of the night. "There's no other way," she said.

She estimated that there were roughly 200 bodies arriving each day at the crematorium, from 30 or 40 bodies on a typical day. The increased workload has taxed the crematorium staff, many of whom have become infected with the fast-spreading virus in recent days, she said.

Men who work at the compound, which in addition to a funeral hall includes a small complex of shops selling burial attire, flowers, caskets, urns and other funerary items, said the number of corpses had risen markedly in recent days, though none would offer an estimate of the magnitude of the increase, reported WSJ.

Doubling time in China may not be days anymore. Doubling time now possibly "hours" says some experts -- let that sink in. R is hard to calculate if doubling is less than 1 day because it's hard to PCR test that fast. The point is China & the world is in deep trouble, said Feigl-Ding.

Moreover, the deaths in mainland China is being hugely underreported. Through a survey of hospitals, funeral parlors and related funeral industry chains in Beijing--there is a recent explosion in funeral services caused by the sharp increase in deaths.

According to the epidemiologist, the cremation in Beijing is nonstop. Morgues are overloaded. Refrigerated containers needed. 24/7 funerals. 2000 bodies backlogged for cremations. Sound familiar? It is spring 2020 all over again-- but this time for China, emulating more Western-mass infection approach.

People rushed to a pharmaceutical factory to buy ibuprofen because it is completely sold out elsewhere.

One said that, typically, all the day's corpses would be cremated by midday. But the recent increase in the number of bodies has meant that cremations are now taking place long after nightfall.

In a series of abrupt moves this month, China dismantled much of the lockdown, testing and quarantine regimes that underpinned its 'Zero Covid' approach for the past three years to suppress even small outbreaks of the virus.

Because of the lifting of testing requirements, the scale of China's coronavirus surge has been hard to measure. Daily national case counts have steadily fallen as fewer people test themselves at public facilities, and health authorities earlier this week stopped releasing daily tallies of asymptomatic cases for the first time since the pandemic began.

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

According to National Health Commission regulations, corpses diagnosed as Covid-positive or suspected of being Covid-positive must be cremated immediately in specially designated furnaces, with no dressing of bodies or memorial services.

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

China Covid outbreak: US concerned over new mutation

The United States has expressed its concern over the possibility of a new mutation of the Covid-19 virus as numbers continue to regularly increase in the world's most populous nation China, even though many countries have arrested the pandemic spread.

While addressing the media, US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said, "First and foremost, any time there is death and illness anywhere around the world, we want to see a situation like that come to an end. When it comes to COVID, secondly, we know that any time the virus is spreading, that it is in the wild, that it has the potential to mutate and to pose a threat to people everywhere." "We've seen that over the course of many different permutations of this virus and certainly another reason why we are so focused on helping countries around the world address COVID, another reason why bringing this to a close in China would be beneficial," he added.

Talking on Covid-19 toll Price said he is concerned that "not only does China need to be in a good position" but other countries as well.

He said, "the US is concerned that China might not be fully transparent about the COVID numbers, the cases, and also the deaths that we're seeing in China right now".

This development came after China reported two Covid deaths on Monday.

According to the National Health Commission of China, the mainland also reported 1,995 new Covid-19 cases.

As of Sunday, the National Health Commission had received reports of 380,453 confirmed cases and 5,237 deaths in 31 provincial-level regions and the Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps on the Chinese mainland, and in all 339,885 patients had been cured and discharged from hospital.

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