China estimates 37 million a day are being infected by COVID spike
Estimates from China’s top health authority say that nearly 37 million people were infected with COVID-19 in a single day on Dec. 20, according to a Bloomberg report.
The report added that it is also likely that 248 million people contracted the virus in the first 20 days of the month.
According to Bloomberg, the minutes didn’t note the number of deaths from COVID-19.
Cases in China have surged just weeks after the country moved away from nearly three years of a strict “zero-COVID” policy.
World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Wednesday sounded the alarm over rising cases in China, highlighting “increasing reports of severe disease.”
“In order to make a comprehensive risk assessment of the situation on the ground, WHO needs more detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions and requirements for ICU support,” Tedros said in a press briefing.
Protests erupted in cities across China in late November after the government’s strict COVID-19 protocols were blamed for hindering the emergency response to a deadly apartment fire in the northwestern city of Urumqi.
Earlier this month, officials also rolled back regular mandatory testing and eased lockdown requirements when a positive case is identified.
In the months before China began relaxing its COVID-19 policy, scientists warned that the country was not well-equipped to handle a surge in case numbers.
A study based on vaccination rates in China in March found that getting rid of zero-COVID restrictions could “generate a tsunami of COVID-19 cases”.
Earlier this month, Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, also warned about the possibility of the virus mutating around the world if China did not “mount and implement a proactive vaccination campaign.”
“Whenever you have a large wave of transmissions of a virus, you give it ample opportunity to mutate,” Fauci said, according to The Associated Press.
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