China faces ‘colossal outbreak’ in US-style reopening: Inquiry – Community News
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China faces ‘colossal outbreak’ in US-style reopening: Inquiry

China faces 'colossal outbreak' in US-style reopening: Inquiry

Under current containment efforts, daily Chinese infections have rarely exceeded 100.

China would face a “colossal outbreak” on a scale beyond what any other country has seen to date if it reopened in the same way as the US

That is a prediction based on statistical models by researchers at the prestigious Peking University in Beijing. A move from China’s current Covid elimination strategy to a U.S. approach with few restrictions would lead to as many as 637,155 infections per day, according to the study, published Nov. 24 by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

That would be the largest daily figure reported by a country since the start of the pandemic. The study also predicted a rise in infections in China if it adopted the policies of the UK, Israel, Spain or France.

Under current efforts to contain the virus, daily Chinese infections have rarely exceeded 100. The US recorded an average of about 150,000 daily cases during the modeling period referenced by the study.

“Our findings have raised a clear warning that we are not yet ready to embrace ‘open-up’ strategies,” the researchers wrote in the study, which was funded in part by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. They added that the approach of “certain western countries” “relied solely on the hypothesis of herd immunity induced by vaccination”.

The study reveals the challenge facing the world’s most populous nation in breaking through a “Covid Zero” strategy of lockdowns, closed borders and other strict restrictions.

China successfully beat back three domestic delta waves but struggled to contain the latest outbreak, the largest since the virus first emerged in the city of Wuhan. Authorities have imposed increasingly disruptive restrictions, such as rapid lockdowns and domestic travel bans, but clusters of cases have continued to flare up, including in Shanghai’s financial center.

Other Covid Zero supporters, such as Singapore and Australia, have begun treating the virus as endemic after struggling to control the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.

The study predicts a rise in the number of serious cases to 22,364 per day in a US-style reopening — roughly double the number at the peak of the initial outbreak in early 2020. That caseload would “have a devastating impact on the medical system of China and cause a major disaster within the nation,” the researchers said.

However, the study indicated that a combination of high vaccination coverage and effective Covid treatments could allow China to roll back its strict preventive measures.

Many countries have suffered the “overconfident” jump into reopening this year, the researchers wrote. “China cannot and cannot afford to be next.”

(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)