BEIJING: China on Saturday announced that nearly 60,000 Covid-19 deaths were reported since the country lifted its strict “Zero Covid Policy” on December 7, last year, Global Times reported citing National Health Commission.
The National Health Commission of China revealed a total of 59,938 COVID-19-related deaths between December 8, 2022, and January 12 this year, explaining that the spike in cases is because of relaxing the Covid policy on December 7.
NHC official Jiao Yahui, who revealed the Covid-19 data, said that the average age of those who died in the period was 80.3 years old, with 90.1 per cent of the fatalities above 65 years old, and 56.5 per cent aged above 80 years old; more than 90 per cent suffered from underlying conditions, according to Global Times.
China has insisted on classifying deaths of patients with a positive nucleic acid test as COVID-19-related deaths, which is in line with the WHO and international standards, Jiao noted.
She further added that the causes of death are twofold one is respiratory failure and death, or underlying diseases interacting with the coronavirus leading to death.
Among the reported 59,938 COVID-19 deaths, 5,503 were due to respiratory failure caused by the virus, and 54,435 were from underlying conditions interacting with epidemic infection, according to the Global Times citing NHC.
Jiao said that winter is the season during which respiratory and other diseases interact often impacting the elderly, thus relatively large proportions of elderly people have been victims of the current wave of the epidemic.
This reminds us to focus more on elderly patients and try our best to save lives, she added.
In response to reports that China has been playing down the number of deaths caused by COVID, Liang Wannian, head of the expert panel overseeing the national COVID-19 response, was quoted by media as saying last month that it is hard to obtain an accurate grasp of the death rate during peak infections. Such assessment can only be made after the infection ebbs away, and the current stage at the time should focus on preventing severe and fatal cases, said Liang, reported Global Times.
China will publish COVID-19 data as a normal Class-B disease, a National Administration of Disease Prevention and Control official said at the Saturday conference. The CDC is in charge of publishing the number of severe and fatal COVID-19 cases.
The NHC officials said both the infection numbers and figures of severe cases had already reached the tapering point.
The number of severe COVID-19 cases reached a peak on January 5, standing at 128,000, according to Jiao, who also noted that the number was down to 105,000 as of January 12 and that 75.3 per cent of beds for severe cases were occupied.
Jiao said that as of January 12, more than 5,000 county-level hospitals have received 301,000 patients, accounting for 23.7 per cent of the nationwide total, despite showing a seven-day consecutive decline. Furthermore, 15.1 per cent of COVID-19 cases with severe symptoms nationwide were identified in county-level medical institutes, according to Global Times. (ANI)