A Shanghai hospital has told its staff to prepare for a ‘tragic battle’ against COVID-19 as it expects half of the city’s 25 million people to be infected by the end of it. of the next week.
It’s been two weeks since most zero-COVID restrictions were suddenly knocked down in China, leaving the virus to sweep the country largely uncontrolled.
Shanghai Deji Hospital, posted on its official WeChat account on Wednesday, estimated that there were around 5.43 million positive cases in the city and predicted that 12.5 million will be infected by the end of the year. .
“Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and the Lunar New Year this year are destined to be dangerous,” said the private hospital, which employs about 400 people.
“In this tragic battle, all of Greater Shanghai will fall and we will infect all hospital staff!” We will infect the whole family!
“Our patients will all be infected! We have no choice and we cannot escape.”
ChinaThe official death toll since the pandemic began three years ago stands at 5,241 – a fraction of what most other countries have faced.
A Chinese health official confirmed on Thursday that China only counts deaths from pneumonia or respiratory failure in its official report. covid number of deaths.
Deaths that occur in patients with pre-existing conditions are not counted as COVID-19 deaths, said Wang Guiqiang, head of infectious diseases at Peking University First Hospital.
This goes against most countries’ policy of counting any death in which COVID-19 is a factor as a coronavirus-related death.
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China reported no new COVID deaths for a second straight day on Dec. 21, even as funeral home workers say demand has surged over the past week, pushing up costs.
Experts say China could face more than a million COVID deaths next year, given relatively low full vaccination rates among its vulnerable elderly population.
China’s vaccination rate is over 90%, but the rate for adults who received boosters drops to 57.9% and 42.3% for people aged 80 and over, according to government data. .
Authorities have confirmed 389,306 cases with symptoms, but some experts say official figures have become an unreliable guide as fewer tests are carried out following the easing of restrictions.
Infections in China are expected to exceed one million a day, with more than 5,000 deaths a day, a “stark contrast” to official data, British health data firm Airfinity said this week.
At a hospital in Beijing, footage from state broadcaster CCTV showed rows of elderly patients in the intensive care unit breathing through oxygen masks. It was unclear how many had COVID.
The deputy director of the hospital’s emergency department, Han Xue, told CCTV they were seeing 400 patients a day, four times more than usual.