[Meanwhile] It’s not over until it’s over in China

Home > National >

print dictionary print

[Meanwhile] It’s not over until it’s over in China

The author is head of the China Institute of the JoongAng Ilbo and CEO of China Lab.

China is in a mess after changing its zero-Covid policy. As the strict PCR test requirements and ruthless lockdowns lifted, Covid-cases exploded, as seen by the long lines at crematoriums. The horrible scenes in Wuhan in early 2020 seemed to be reenacted. The number of fever patients in Beijing increased by 16 times in a week, and though 12 crematoriums are operating 24 hours, the wait time is five to seven days longer. As the number of asymptomatic patients is not released, there is no way of knowing how many people are infected.

China seems to be now starting what the rest of the world has gone through over the last three years. The key is minimizing victims. Many of the forecasts sounded alarms. Feng Zijian, former executive vice president of the Chinese Preventive Medicine Association, estimates that 60 percent of Chinese will be infected during the first peak of the outbreak.

That means 840 million out of 1.4 billion Chinese will be infected, far more than the number of infected people worldwide at 648 million. On the predicted number of deaths, British information analysis firm Airfinity estimates 1.3 to 2.1 million, the Nature Medicine 1.5 million and the head of the Guangxi Center for Disease Control 2 million. All predictions exceed 1 million.

The developments in China ring alarms. First of all, it could trigger a new variant. China is a vast country with the world’s largest population, and considering China’s unique hygiene conditions, we need to pay heed if a stronger variant that spreads faster may appear.

When will China’s Covid crisis peak? On the Chinese internet, there are rumors, supposedly based on big data research, that the peak would be Dec. 24 in Guangzhou, Jan. 1 in Shenzhen and Jan. 6 in Shanghai. But Zhang Wenhong, a renowned medical scholar and the director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital, expects China to reach its peak in a month, shortly before the Spring Festival, China’s biggest holiday.

Concerns are growing that urban residents visiting their hometowns for New Year may provoke a Covid disaster in rural areas, where the medical system is vulnerable. As China faces the trial, it will affect the fate of President Xi Jinping’s third term. In that case, the global Covid situation also faces a new challenge from Covid. The global pandemic is not over until it is over in China.
Log in to Twitter or Facebook account to connect
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
help-image Social comment?
lock icon

To write comments, please log in to one of the accounts.

Standards Board Policy (0/250자)