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Chinese CDC official: ‘No need’ to obsess over the exact number of COVID-19 deaths

Posted by on 2023/01/12. Filed under Breaking News,China,Headline News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

After three years of some of the world’s toughest restrictions, China abruptly lifted most of its coronavirus health restrictions in early December. Since then, the number of patients has skyrocketed, with hospitals temporarily overwhelmed by elderly patients and crematoriums overwhelmed by the influx of bodies. But only 37 COVID-related deaths have been recorded since last month, according to official figures, out of a population of 1.4 billion.

“At the moment, I don’t think it’s necessary to investigate the cause of each individual case,” Chinese epidemiologist Liang Wannian, head of the National Health Commission’s epidemic response team, said Wednesday, AFP reported. “The main task during a pandemic is to treat the sick,” he stressed.

Wang Guiqiang, director of the Department of infectious Diseases at Peking University First Hospital, suggested at a press conference that China could determine the number of deaths by looking at the excess mortality rate after the outbreak.
In December, Beijing revised the way it counts COVID-related deaths. Only people who died directly from coronavirus-related respiratory failure were included.

This change in methodology means that a large number of deaths are no longer recorded as being caused by COVID-19.
“It would be better if a global consensus could be reached (on classifying deaths as COVID-19 deaths),” Liang stressed, AFP reported. If not, then each country will be classified according to its own situation.

The World Health Organization (WHO) last week criticized China’s new definition of COVID-19 deaths as “too narrow.
“We continue to ask China to provide faster, regular and reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more complete and real-time virus sequencing,” insisted WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
Beijing has condemned the criticism and called on the WHO to take an “impartial” stance.

Separately, Liang Wannian said on Wednesday that China had reported all detected variants to the World Health Organization and would continue to take responsibility for tracking down new variants, the state-run Global Times reported. “We have contained this round of the epidemic, which fully demonstrates the resilience of China’s healthcare system,” Liang added at a public health event in Beijing, according to the Global Times.
In an interview with the media in Beijing on December 29, Liang Wannian said that from the perspective of public health, it is difficult to accurately judge the fatality rate and case fatality rate during the period of epidemic and rapid transmission. Only after the epidemic cycle has passed, can we accurately judge the number of cases and deaths. At present, prevention of severe cases and deaths should be given priority.

On 11 January 2020, China announced its first death from Covid-19. Three years later, China is facing an unprecedented wave of COVID-19. China’s official death toll of 5,354 is very low compared to other countries.

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