While the Beijing administration stopped declaring the number of incidents following the lifting of the measures at the beginning of last month, health officials in several metropolitan and provinces in the country are reporting that the majority of the population is already infected.
A government document leaked to the internet pointed out that the spread in metropolitan cities such as Beijing, Guangcou and Shanghai on December 1-20 caused 248 million new infections, while in Shanghai, the largest city of the country, with a population of 25 million, health officials said that with the prestige of the end of December, the virus killed 70 percent of the population. He said he was infected.
On the other hand, statements from some states where the rural population is also heavy in the first weeks of the new year reveal that the spread in rural areas is faster than expected. It is assumed that 89 percent of the population is infected with the virus in the state of Hnan with a population of 100 million, and the rate of infection in Sichuan province with a population of 80 million exceeds 80 percent.
While health experts predict that if the mass spread continues in this way, at least 1 billion people, who make up 70 percent of the 1.4 billion population in the country, will be infected in the winter months. He expressed the view that it is necessary to focus on dealing with the disease and to increase the level of immunity with vaccination.
Sudden side change in measures accelerated the spread
Ben Cowling, Head of the Epidemiology Department of the Faculty of Public Health at the University of Hong Kong, in his article published in the scientific journal Nature, stated that in a typical plan followed by countries in dealing with epidemics, measures for precaution and isolation at the first stage are generally followed by measures to reduce the impact of epidemic waves, but China’s ” He emphasized that the sudden change of direction in the “zero case” policy increased the spread of the virus and did not allow the time necessary for the health system to complete its preparations.
Cowley, in the podcast of the South China Morning Post newspaper, which he attended as a guest, stated that with current trends, it is predicted that there will be more than 1 billion infections in China in the winter, and said, “China has not experienced the previous large-scale epidemic waves due to the strict control measures it has implemented from the beginning. “Given the contagiousness of the predominant Omicron subvariants, it is inevitable that the vast majority of the population will be infected.”
Referring to the concerns that such a large-scale spread could introduce dangerous new variants, Cowley said, “1 billion infections means that the virus will find 1 billion new ways for new mutations. But it is difficult to predict whether this will reveal a new variant. “Even the first sub-variants of Omicron did not have large-scale outbreaks. Since the country’s population is susceptible to infection, the virus does not have an immune barrier to overcome. This is a factor that will reduce the likelihood of mutations,” he said.
Focus will be on dealing with disease and reducing deaths
Liang Vannien, Deputy Dean of the Vanke Faculty of Public Health at Qinghua University, who headed the National Health Board’s expert group on dealing with Kovid-19 at the beginning of the epidemic, made evaluations to journalists at the meeting on “Optimization of Kovid-19 measures” organized by the Chinese Public Diplomacy Association in Beijing.
Reminding that China stopped treating Kovid-19 as a “class A epidemic” as of January 8, Liang said, “To treat it as a class A epidemic disease required quarantine measures, monitoring of close contacts, isolation and disinfection of places. In the case of a class epidemic, a burden will be placed on the treatment of critical incidents and the strengthening of health services.
Liang said that since the beginning of the epidemic, China has tried to take timely, effective and scientific measures, has acted according to the developing situation, and that despite the difficulties experienced, the large-scale closures implemented in Wuhan in 2020 and Shanghai in 2022, and the spread of the virus throughout the country and a large scale. He emphasized that it has prevented the loss of life.
Pointing out that the public health was protected during the epidemic period thanks to the measures, and the average life expectancy in the country increased from 77.3 in 2019 to 78.2 in 2022, Liang said, “The contagion has increased over time. The contagiousness of the virus, which is transmitted from an original type carrier to an average of 2 individuals, is Delta variant, 8.9-9.5 in Omicron, and up to 20 in sub-variants such as BA.1 and BA.5. Immune escape rate also increased, but death rate decreased. “Accordingly, we have updated our measures from controlling the virus to preventing the disease. Even today we do not know enough about the virus, we still do not know its pathology. All we can do is take flexible measures and try to increase our knowledge.” used the terms.
Pointing out that the rate of contagion in the effort with epidemic diseases, the level of immunity in the society and the capacity of health facilities in the country are three factors to be taken into account, Liang said, “Only if you can balance two of these three factors, you can relax the public health measures. You need to establish a stability, we want to take optimized measures. “We want to take purposeful measures to protect human life,” he said.
Vaccination is 90 percent
Pointing out the need to develop pre-treatment services in order to prevent congestion in hospitals, and to monitor the health status of the elderly and those in the risk group at the local level by the family doctor, Vang emphasized the importance of drug supply and vaccination.
Pointing out that the rate of vaccination in the general population exceeds 90 percent, but the risk cluster is not at the expected level in the elderly population, Vang said, “Vaccination is important in terms of reducing the rate of getting sick. We value vaccination, we started with inactive vaccines, now we add other breeds. Conservation quickly after vaccination. The effect is good, but it decreases later, so it is necessary to apply a regular vaccination program with reminder doses.”