Lunar New Year Preceded by 12,600 Covid Deaths in China

China has reported that over 12,600 people have died from Covid-related causes in the week leading up to the Lunar New Year holidays. The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention stated that there were around 12,000 Covid-linked deaths at hospitals between January 13th and 19th. This brings the total number of Covid-linked deaths in China to 59,938 between December 8th and January 12th.

According to Wu Zunyou, the center’s chief epidemiologist, about 80% of China’s population has been infected with the virus in the current outbreak. This would mean that over 1.1 billion people in China have had the virus, given the country’s population of 1.41 billion at the end of 2022. Wu did not provide any further information on how the infections were derived.

Wu also stated that while Lunar New Year travel may lead to an uptick in cases in some regions, there is a “very little chance” for large-scale infections or a another round of outbreak country wide in the next two to three months.

The sudden dismantling of Covid Zero restrictions in December allowed hundreds of millions of people to travel home for the Lunar New Year holiday for the first time since 2019. President Xi Jinping has expressed concern about efforts to battle Covid in rural areas, as the virus could have a devastating impact on vulnerable communities with limited healthcare infrastructure.

As of January 19th, there were 471,739 Covid-related patients in hospitals nationwide, including 51,683 in critical condition. The release of this data came after the World Health Organization urged China to provide more information on the current outbreak.

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