This is a shocking prediction for a country which, only months before, had implemented some of the most strict Covid control protocols in the world. The response of the Chinese government and the public to the latest variant, XBB which is fueling the resurgence of cases has been muted.
This surge in Covid cases comes six months after Beijing demolished its vast infrastructure to deal with Covid, including harsh lockdowns and mass testing.
Qi Zhang, a 30-year-old finance worker in Tianjin’s northern city, said that people feel differently about the wave. She told NBC News that “the last time, everyone was terrified. But now they don’t see it as a big issue.”
Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease specialist from Guangzhou in southern China, revealed the data at a medical meeting this week. Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease specialist from Guangzhou, told his audience at a medical conference this week that he had “anticipated” the wave of infections that began in late April. His modeling indicated that China may be nearing 40 million infections each week. He said that by the end of the month, the number of weekly infections would peak at 65 millions.
Comparatively, the United States reported more than 5,000,000 cases per week during their peak in January 2022. China, like the U.S. stopped reporting weekly updates on cases this month. It is now difficult to determine the true scope of the current outbreak.
State Department officials said that the U.S., who had imposed a requirement for testing on Chinese travelers in January, before lifted it in March was discussing China’s Covid second wave with partners and allies, but refused to confirm whether travel restrictions are being considered. Matt Miller, the Department’s spokesperson, said that the Department would monitor the situation with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before updating travel guidelines.
Miller stated Wednesday that “we don’t wish to see anyone, anywhere, suffer from Covid-19.” The U.S. Government remains committed to working together with [China] in transnational challenges including global health issues and maintaining open communication.
In December and January of this year, China’s first Covid outbreak, a new omicron strain was infecting thousands of people each day. Hospitals and crematoriums were overwhelmed in many cities. The shelves of stores were cleared of fever medications and schools closed.
Wu Zunyou said that in January, 80% of China’s 1.4 billion population was infected by this wave. In the months that have passed, immunity may be waning and the risk of reinfection has increased.
Zhong stated at the medical conference, that the government has given preliminary approval for two vaccines aimed against the XBB subvariants that are already circulating across the U.S. and that other vaccines could be approved in the near future.
Joey Wang, a 24-year-old student from Hebei Province, reported that many people found the symptoms of Covid less severe this round. The change in the government’s messaging also seems to have eased public concerns.
He said: “No more media trying to terrify people. No more short videos like ‘fighting the pandemic,’ to alert the public. And no more extreme measures, such as lockdowns.”
The Chinese government is attempting to re-energize the economy, and to reassure U.S. businesses and other foreign companies that would be negatively affected by the return of restrictions.
Michael Hart, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in China said that the Chinese government should give companies more clarity and stability so that they can plan.
Zhang, the finance worker, said that colleagues who had recently tested positive chose to come to the office anyway. This is in contrast to the first wave, when everyone worked from home for long periods.
She said, “When I think back on the strict Covid measures that we took in the past, it seems like a fantasy.” “I’m starting to question if the strict lockdowns we had were worth it if this is where we are now.”
Janis Mckey Frayer reported in Beijing and Jennifer Jett reported in Hong Kong.
Dawn Liu and Jace Zhang contributed.