CHICAGO (Reuters) – China, which has significantly eased its “zero coronavirus” policy, will see an explosive increase in the number of new coronavirus infections over the next year, and the death toll could exceed one million. The Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington School of Medicine provided that perspective based on the latest model prediction results released on the 16th.
The number of infected people is expected to peak around April 1 next year and the number of deaths is expected to reach 322,000, according to the report. IHME director Murray said about a third of China’s total population would have been infected by this point.
Chinese health officials have not officially announced any deaths since the easing of the zero-corona policy. The total number of deaths reported so far by the authorities is 5,235. Currently, there are fears that the number of infections will increase during the Lunar New Year holiday in January next year, when many people will travel.
Mr Murray stressed that the zero-coronavirus policy may have suppressed infected people to a certain mutation stage, but the emergence of the highly contagious Omicron strain made it impossible to maintain the policy.
IHME’s model projections included assumptions about death rates in Hong Kong, vaccination rates provided by the Chinese government, and local responses to rising infections.
Another expert said about 60 percent of China’s population would eventually be infected, with infections peaking in January next year, with the elderly and other people at high risk of serious illnesses hit hardest. .
Easing the zero-coronavirus policy could lead to 684 deaths per million people between December and January, according to projections by University of Hong Kong researchers released on Thursday. Assuming there are no mass booster vaccinations, this translates into 964,400 deaths in the entire population.
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