China warns of 2 million deaths per year if it reopens

China warns of 2 million deaths per year if it reopens
FILE PHOTO: A front desk staff member wearing a mask and a shield as protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) checks in a guest at a hotel inside the closed loop at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, China, February 1, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/File Photo

The backstory:

  • But this approach has also gotten the mainland some criticism, especially recently as the country hosts the Winter Olympics in Beijing.
  • On Sunday, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) chief epidemiologist Wu Zunyou said to the state-run Global Times, “We previously thought COVID-19 could be basically contained through vaccines but now it seems that there’s no simple method to control it except with comprehensive measures."

The development:

  • A team of Chinese scientists published a research paper on Friday in the CCDC’s weekly bulletin. Using studies from Chile and Britain, their research asserts that even if the global vaccination rate reached 95%, China would see 234 million infections within a year if it reopened to 2019 levels, including 64 million symptomatic cases and 2 million deaths.
  • “The human race should continue to develop vaccines and explore new ways to improve vaccine protection against infection in order to eliminate COVID-19 at the global level."
  • The group said that in order to reduce the severity of COVID-19 to the levels of the flu, the vaccine efficacy against infection needs to increase to 40%, and the efficacy against symptomatic disease needs to increase to 90%.
  • “The key to controlling COVID-19 lies in the development and widespread use of vaccines that are more effective at preventing infection," the team said.

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