Hong Kong logs 117 deaths on Tuesday and now has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death rates

Hong Kong logs 117 deaths on Tuesday and now has one of the world’s highest COVID-19 death rates
A customer wearing a mask buys fresh meat at a supermarket ahead of mass coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing in Hong Kong, China March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

The backstory:

  • When the pandemic started, the whole world was thrown into chaos. However, as it’s progressed, many developed nations have decided to live with the virus, while Hong Kong has adopted a zero-COVID-19 approach.
  • This has led to Hong Kong becoming increasingly isolated from the rest of the world and put it on the receiving end of quite a bit of scrutiny, especially from the business community, labeling the approach unsustainable and impractical.
  • Hong Kong is now in the middle of its fifth wave, seeing case numbers reaching record highs. The city has also imposed some of its harshest social distancing rules yet in an attempt to contain the outbreak.
  • On Sunday, Hong Kong saw 26,026 COVID cases, with the death toll rising to 83.
  • Meanwhile, Dr. Liang Wannian, the leader of the National Health Commission’s COVID-19 response expert team in Wuhan when the virus hit the mainland, is coming to Hong Kong to help with the whole situation.
  • Hong Kong has seen 190,000 infections in total, but 180,000 were recorded in February with the highly-transmissible omicron variant around.
  • According to the hospital authority on Monday, public mortuaries and other facilities for storing the dead are at full capacity because of the outbreak.
  • On Monday, Hong Kong saw a new daily high of 34,466 new COVID-19 cases and 87 deaths.

The development:

Hong Kong COVID-19
Customers wearing masks shop in front of partially empty shelves at a supermarket, ahead of mass coronavirus disease (COVID-19) testing, in Hong Kong, China March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu
  • COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong have surged from a few hundred to over 30,000 within a few weeks. And on Tuesday, the city saw a record of 117 new deaths and recorded more than 32,000 cases. Over 90% of those who died weren’t double vaxxed.
  • As a result, Hong Kong now has the highest COVID-19 fatality rate in the developed world, according to Bloomberg.
  • This means that the city averaged eight deaths per 1 million people in the 10 days through Monday. This is compared to the US, which during its peak saw nine deaths per 1 million in its omicron wave.
  • But even with these increasing numbers, there are apparently talks at the moment between banking regulators and the city’s government to try and shorten the hotel quarantine period to maintain the city’s financial hub status.
  • Meanwhile, people in Hong Kong prepared for a citywide lockdown and mandatory mass COVID-19 testing, emptying supermarkets, even though the city’s leader Carrie Lam has tried to calm everyone down and encouraged residents not to worry.

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