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New Covid outbreak in China, that can cause up to 65 million weekly cases and public response is muted

The new Covid outbreak wave can hike up to 65 million weekly cases in China

China is facing a new Covid outbreak wave that might peak at 65 million weekly cases at the end of June. The country had the harshest restrictions and protocols since it started in 2019. The latest XBB, the omicron variant, has again led to a rise in cases.

That said, the response from the public and the Chinese government is muted this time. Here’s more about the current situation.

Surge after dismantling Covid protocols

The new surge was fueled six months after China dismantled its protocols to deal with the outbreak. From mass testing, strict mask requirements, harsh lockdowns and quarantines, the country had an extensive system.

However, people aren’t scared of this new wave, according to Qi Zhang – an employee of a finance company based in Tianjin’s northern city. Unlike the last time when everyone was frightened, they don’t think this new wave is a big deal.

Zhong Nanshan, a respiratory disease specialist shared the new stats at a conference, saying that this new wave was anticipated. According to his estimates, the country could peak at 40 million weekly infections. The numbers can go up to 65 million by the end of June.

Contrarily, the weekly cases in the US were 5 million last January. China and US, both stopped reporting weekly infection updates making it harder to have an idea of the extent of the Covid outbreak.

A mother putting a face mask on her daughter

Travel restrictions, stringent infrastructure

In January, the US imposed testing requirements on everyone traveling from China but lifted this restriction in March. The US State Department discussed the new Covid wave with partners and allies but didn’t reveal anything about travel restrictions. Matt Miller stated that the state department is monitoring the situation with CDC to upgrade guidelines accordingly.

Miller also assured the US government’s commitment to working on transnational challenges with China. Various omicron variants have spread in the US but CDC isn’t tracking new infections regularly. Though new infections aren’t counted, the number of deaths and hospitalization has declined in the US. Experts believe this is due to strong immunity against the disease.

The Chinese government has approved two vaccines for XBB and other vaccines are also scheduled for approval. The new wave won’t equate to a tsunami of infections but people with underlying diseases and older people are at risk due to under-vaccination.

The government isn’t imposing harsh restrictions this time. No more terrifying messages on media or video alerts to scare people. The government’s response is subdued since it’s trying to recover its economy and assure foreign businesses.

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