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Thursday, Nov 30, 2023

COVID-19 Cases in China on the Rise Again, but Government Focuses on Economic Growth

COVID-19 Cases in China on the Rise Again, but Government Focuses on Economic Growth

According to the New York Times, COVID-19 cases are on the rise again in China, but the government is focusing on reigniting economic growth instead of imposing lockdowns.
Despite this, Chinese health authorities have reported a rise in cases since April, especially from newer subvariants spreading worldwide.

Zhong Nanshan, a prominent doctor, estimated that by late June as many as 65 million people a week could become infected with the coronavirus across China.

The government no longer publishes regular nationwide estimates of infections, and after "Zero Covid" controls were abandoned in December, new infections reached 37 million a day in China at their peak.

Many in China have become accustomed to living with a background hum of COVID infections and deaths.

Officials across China appear to be preparing the population for a rise in infections without reintroducing the heavy controls that by late last year had exhausted public patience.

The government has shifted to reviving growth and job creation, and the jobless rate of about 20% among urban youth may be a more pressing concern than rising Covid numbers.

The recent rise in COVID-19 cases in China has led to an increase in the number of people opting to stay at home and endure the illness rather than visiting fever clinics.

This trend is particularly prevalent among younger people, who may have had previous exposure to the virus and have learned to cope with its symptoms.

However, older people, who have not had previous exposure to the virus or may not have received full vaccination, are more likely to require medical attention and pose a greater risk to others.

According to Zhang Wenhong, the director of the Center for Infectious Diseases at Huashan Hospital in Shanghai, up to 75% of recent COVID-19 cases in China were not infected in the first wave.

To curb the spread of the virus, China needs to increase vaccination rates, particularly among older people, upgrade its homegrown vaccine, allow the introduction of internationally developed vaccines, and make anti-viral drugs more accessible to patients.

Chris Buckley, the New York Times' chief correspondent in China, wrote this article after interviewing Zhang Wenhong.
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