Dozens of horrifying photos and videos have revealed just how devastating China’s current Covid crisis has become, despite authorities insisting the situation is under control.
Recent photos captured in the country – which has quickly become the world’s Covid hotspot – show piles of bodies lying on the floor in morgues and hospital corridors, with images of medical centers already stretched to their limits and funeral homes succumbing under a sudden spate of collapses. demand.
Despite the clear evidence of the escalating crisis, the official Covid death toll for December stands at just 10, with officials doubling down on the decision to abandon China’s zero-Covid policy after years of draconian lockdowns.
Within days of the harsh restrictions being lifted, cases began to explode, with international epidemiologists and studies predicting the latest wave could lead to millions of deaths.
Of great importance is China’s so-called “R number”, which refers to the number of people an average Covid patient infects.
Scientists from China’s National Health Commission estimate that the R number is now 16 in China – much higher than other countries during previous Covid waves – with experts bracing for more than 60 percent of the population infected in the coming weeks will hit.
And while a rise in the death toll from Covid is expected as a country reopens — a trend seen around the world over the course of the pandemic — China is believed to be particularly vulnerable, given the country’s low vaccination rate, especially among the elderly.
China’s reliance on its own vaccines, which have proven to be less effective at preventing serious illness and death than mRNA jabs used around the world, has also contributed to the current fear being felt.
40-year-old star dies of Covid complications
In addition to the grim scenes of China’s rising death toll, the death of famed Beijing actor and opera singer Chu Lanlan at the age of 40 from Covid complications has also highlighted just how serious the current rise is.
The star’s death was confirmed by a student on Chinese social media platform Weibo, who claimed the virus caused underlying health issues.
Her death has left many stunned considering her age and the fact that she was seen alive and well worshiping fans at a performance just weeks ago.
Secret rule change amid ‘cover-up’ rumors
Meanwhile, it has emerged that China secretly changed its definition of what constitutes a Covid death earlier this month, coinciding with the easing of restrictions.
Beijing now only counts those who died of respiratory failure while being Covid positive as official virus deaths, whereas previously any death while being Covid positive counted towards the official count.
The quiet rule change has further fueled growing speculation about deliberate under-reporting of cases and deaths, with many accusing the Chinese government of covering up the true crisis.
“Few died from respiratory failure caused by Covid and the most common cause of death is underlying disease,” leading infectious disease physician Wang Guiqiang told journalists this week by way of explanation.
The country has recorded just over 5,200 Covid deaths since the start of the pandemic, compared to more than 16,000 in Australia – a country with a fraction of the population.
While it’s tempting to view China’s current crisis as an isolated problem, experts have warned that it has the potential to wreak havoc around the world, causing widespread infections and supply chain chaos, with potential shortages of crucial medicines and goods in the near future. -far future.
There are already shortages of cold medicines in China, with Harvard-trained US epidemiologist Eric Feigl-Ding claiming this week that “we should be concerned about supply chains if China’s Covid explosion continues.”
“What happens in China does not stay in China – Wuhan was our lesson three years ago. The global impact of this 2022-2023 wave will be significant,” he warned, adding that he believed the “global economic fallout from China’s new megatsunami wave will be ugly.”