China battles new wave of Covid variant, may see 65 million cases weekly: report

China battles new wave of Covid variant, may see 65 million cases weekly: report

Chinese authorities are scrambling to release vaccines to combat an ongoing new wave of the coronavirus that is expected to peak in June and infect as many as 65 million people a week as the new XBB variants of the virus virus are evolving to overcome evolved immunity after China’s abrupt departure from its “zero covid” policy last year, The Washington Post reported.

According to official media sources quoted by The Washington Post, leading Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan said Monday that two new vaccines for the XBB omicron subvariants (including XBB. 1.9.1, XBB. 1.5 and XBB. 1.16) have been given tentative approval. Speaking at a biotech symposium in Guangzhou, Zhong said three to four other vaccines will soon be approved, but did not provide further information.

The new outbreak may be the largest wave of illness on record since China’s strict zero-Covid program was halted last winter, leaving up to 85 percent of the population sick at the time.

Although there was an increase in infections in the United States due to the new variations, the public health emergency was still declared to be over on May 11, even though specialists have not ruled out the possibility that new variants could spark a new wave. of diseases in the United States. years to come, according to The Washington Post.

Officials in China claim the current surge will be less severe, but public health experts believe that to prevent another rise in mortality among the country’s massively elderly population, a vigorous vaccination program and a ready stock of antivirals in hospitals are essential.

Another epidemiologist at the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health added, “The number of infections will be less. The serious cases will certainly be less and the deaths will be less, but that could still be a large number,” added adding, “Even if we think this is a milder wave, it could still have a pretty big impact on community health.”

According to the Beijing Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the variations have increased the number of cases since last month, with Covid surpassing the flu as the most common infectious disease in the last two weeks of April.

The public has been reassured by health experts that re-infections have milder symptoms and that hospitals will not be overburdened as they were last winter. Some medical facilities have recommended residents wear masks and stay away from crowded areas if they are elderly or immunocompromised, according to The Washington Post.

Yet restrictions similar to those that existed during the zero-Covid era, when China attempted to end disease, have not been reinstated, and the majority of citizens appear to be going about their daily lives as usual.

Olivia Zhang, 33, who works at an amusement park in Beijing, said he feels the impact has not been as great, adding: “But they will only be gone for a short time before returning to work . No one is afraid to be around them.”

Several complaints have surfaced online about a university in Nanjing forcing students who tested positive to quarantine in dormitories. Other students posted online that they were quarantined at school so as not to infect their relatives at home, The Washington Post reported.

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