China is getting ready for a new wave of Covid cases, which could hit 65 million per week.
China is getting ready for a possible new wave of Covid-19 infections. The number of cases could hit as high as 65 million per week by the end of June, according to projections. This prediction is scary for a country that just a few months ago put in place some of the tightest measures to control Covid in the world. But the Chinese government and people aren’t reacting too strongly to the latest version, which is called XBB or omicron.
About six months ago, China took down a lot of the infrastructure it had set up to fight the virus. This infrastructure had tight lockdowns, a lot of testing, mandatory quarantines, and strict mask requirements. But the current rise in cases, which is being caused by the omicron variant, hasn’t gotten much attention from either the government or the people.
At a medical meeting in Guangzhou, respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan showed data that showed the wave of infections that started in late April was expected. His computer models showed that China could have as many as 40 million cases per week, with a peak of 65 million by the end of June. In January, when the number of cases was highest in the US, over 5 million were reported every week. But China has stopped giving weekly reports on new cases, making it hard to know how big the current outbreak really is.
The US is talking with its friends and partners about China’s second Covid wave, but the State Department has not said whether travel restrictions are being thought about. Before changing travel rules, the attention is still on keeping an eye on the situation and working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The U.S. government stresses how important it is to work with China on world health issues and keep communication lines open.
In December and January, a different version of the virus caused a lot of trouble in China. Millions of people got sick and hospitals and crematoriums were full. But since then, the person may have lost some of their protection, making them more likely to get sick again. Zhong said that the government has given preliminary permission to two vaccines that target the XBB subvariants, and that more approvals could come soon.
China’s calm reaction can be explained by the fact that it is trying to get the economy back on track and reassure foreign businesses, including those from the U.S. Businesses could be hurt by the return of strict rules, so security and clarity are being sought to make planning easier.
The way people think about the current wave is also affected by how the government talks about it. There is less fear-inducing news coverage, there are no scary movies to warn people, and there are no strict measures like lockdowns. As a result, some people have said that their symptoms aren’t as bad this time. But there are also questions about whether the original strict measures were really needed, given how things are now.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot has changed, and the omicron variety has given China new problems to deal with. The country is trying to find a good mix between stopping the spread of the virus and keeping the economy stable, while also addressing public opinion and making sure communication is clear.