China claims 60,000 dead in one month, but the damage is far worse
NOEL CELIS / AFP
As of Saturday, January 14, China has reported at least 60,000 virus-related deaths since the country lifted health restrictions a month ago.
HEALTH – Hugely underestimated. China, which has been criticized for a lack of transparency over the Covid-19 outbreak, announced this Saturday, January 14, that nearly 60,000 deaths have been linked to the virus since the country lifted health restrictions a month ago. The death toll is undoubtedly higher, according to WHO estimates, calling into question China’s methodology for establishing this first estimate of cases.
“Between December 8, 2022 and January 12, 2023, a total of 59,938 [décès] defined” Health official Jiao Yahui told reporters that in medical facilities in the country. This is the face of the country’s communication: three days ago, China assured that only 37 deaths related to Covid-19 had been recorded in a month.
Among those deaths, 5,503 were directly caused by respiratory failure linked to Covid-19, he said. In addition, 54,435 deaths were caused by major diseases related to Covid, he assured. Furthermore, this estimate does not take into account deaths that occur outside the hospital system.
Beijing reviewed its methodology for counting Covid deaths in December. The statistics now only include people who died directly from Covid-related respiratory failure. This change in methodology means that a large number of deaths are no longer listed as being due to Covid. The World Health Organization (WHO) has condemned this new definition of Covid death in China “too narrow”.
This first inventory of the epidemic situation in the country also comes very late, more than a month after the lifting of health restrictions. Health authorities justify this delay “the time it takes to retrieve the data. »
A million deaths in the coming months?
After three years of the world’s toughest restrictions, China ended its “zero Covid” policy in early December and abruptly lifted most health measures against the coronavirus. The number of patients increased rapidly. Hospitals are overflowing with elderly patients and crematoria are overflowing with corpses.
In contrast to the situation on the ground, authorities have so far reported only a few deaths. However, according to a prediction made by three professors at the University of Hong Kong in early December, the number of people who will die from this unprepared exit after years of severe health restrictions will reach one million. By comparison, the 60,000 death toll estimate given by China this Saturday seems extremely low.
Journalist to get a clear idea of what this figure represents Figaro Louis Valleau reported these 60,000 Covid-related deaths to China’s population of 1.4 billion and compared them to the French case. ” Knowing that at least 2,988 people died of Covid-19 in France in December 2022 alone, as the French population was told, that’s about 2,871 deaths per month…” He analyzes on his Twitter account. A way of saying it’s legitimate to question Beijing’s communication amid an explosion in contamination numbers in a population that benefits from less vaccine coverage than the French.
For the first time, China has recognized 60,000 deaths from Covid-19 in a single month. The public has been notified… https://t.co/ODMDOh0TwL
— Louis Valleau (@ValleauLouis)
On January 11, Chinese health authorities predicted that he was not “not necessary” focus immediately on the exact number of Covid-related deaths. “During a pandemic, the main task is to take care of patients”epidemiologist Liang Wannian assured. “At this point, I don’t think it’s necessary to investigate the cause (of deaths) for each individual case.”The head of a group of experts against Covid, commissioned by the National Health Commission, insisted that the one in China.
Liang Wannian also took issue with the lack of homogeneity internationally when deciding on the classification of Covid-related deaths. If there is a consensus “cannot be achieved, so each country will classify according to its own situation”he noted.
Wang Guiqiang, head of the department of infectious diseases at Peking University No. 1 Hospital, said China could determine the death toll by examining excess deaths a posteriori.
He reached the top
The World Health Organization (WHO) has expressed doubts several times about the epidemiological data coming from Beijing. “We continue to request faster, more regular and reliable data from China on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as a more complete and real-time sequence of the virus.”, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted. Beijing regularly criticizes these critics and calls on the WHO to take a stand “impartial” About covid.
In terms of health, the peak of the epidemic appears to have been passed. About 3 million patients nationwide sought treatment for the fever at the end of December, down from 500,000 as of January 12, according to figures released Saturday.
Malls, restaurants and transport are back to life in Beijing after several weeks that kept many sick residents at home. But authorities now fear a resurgence of the epidemic with displacement linked to Lunar New Year celebrations, when hundreds of millions of Chinese prepare to reunite with their families.
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