China Estimates 250 Million Covid Infections in The Last 20 Days

More than 250 million people living in China could have been bitten by Covid-19 in the early 20 days of December, as per an estimate of the country’s most senior healthcare officials. Bloomberg News and the Financial Times reported Friday.

If the estimation is correct, it is based on a guess that CNN is unable to independently verify – could account for around 18 percent of the population in China’s 1.4 billion inhabitants and constitute the biggest Covid-19 outbreak to date in the world.

The data was presented at the internal meetings of the Chinese National Health Commission (NHC) on Wednesday, as reported by both news outlets – who cited sources who are familiar with the situation or who were involved in discussions. The NHC report of the meeting noted that it focused on how to treat patients who are affected by the latest outbreak.

The following day, an e-copy what was believed to be NHC notes of the meeting was distributed via Chinese social media platforms and was viewed by CNN The authenticity of the document hasn’t been confirmed as well. The NHC did not respond immediately to a request for clarification.

The Financial Times and Bloomberg laid out in detail the discussions between authorities on how to manage the spread.

One of the estimates mentioned in both reports was the fact that, on Tuesday alone 37 million people became affected by Covid-19 in China. That was stark contrast to the official figure of 3,049 new infections that were reported on the same day.

The Financial Times said it was Sun Yang – a deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention who gave the numbers to officials at the briefing in a closed-door setting according to two sources familiar with the situation.

Sun stated that the rate of spread of Covid in China was growing and estimated that over half of the population of Beijing and Sichuan had already been infected in The Financial Times.

The figures follow China’s decision at the beginning of December to suddenly end its zero-Covid policy, which was in effect for nearly three years.

These figures stand quite stark contrast to public statistics of the NHC that reported only the 62,592 patients who were symptomatic Covid cases during the first 20 days of December.

What method the NHC was able to come up with the numbers that are cited in Bloomberg or Financial Times? Financial Times is unclear, since China has stopped counting its total number cases, following the authorities’ decision to closed their national system of testing PCR stations and announced that they would cease collecting data on cases that are not symptomatic.

People from China are now also making use of tests for rapid antigens to detect diseases and are not under any obligation to disclose positive results.

According to the official, China has reported only eight Covid deaths this month , an astonishingly low number considering the rapid expansion of the virus and the relatively low booster rates for the elderly.

The figure is 42.3 percent of the population who are over the age of 80 in China have had an additional dose of the vaccine as per an CNN analysis of the latest figures published by NHC on the 14th of December.

In the face of increasing doubt that it’s minimizing Covid deaths The Chinese government justified the accuracy of its official count by revealing that it has updated its methodology for counting deaths due to the virus.

In accordance with the most recent NHC guidelines, only deaths resulting from respiratory failure or pneumonia following being infected are considered Covid death, Wang Guiqiang, a top infectious disease doctor announced at a news conference on Tuesday.

The minutes of Wednesday’s closed-door NHC meeting did not make any mention of discussions on the number of people who may have been killed in China according to the reports as well as the document CNN watched.

“The numbers seem plausible, but I don’t have no other data sources to compare them with. If the numbers given here are correct this means that the national peak will occur in one week.” Ben Cowling, professor of epidemiology of the University of Hong Kong told CNN in an email message in response to questions about the claimed NHC estimates.

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