A peer-reviewed study by Shanghai’s Fudan University published in the Nature journal said that if China were to abandon its COVID-zero policies, hospitals would overflow and it could result in over 1.55 million deaths. More specifically, the study said that if China were to lift its COVID policies now, it would lead to more than 112 million symptomatic COVID cases, 5 million hospitalizations and 1.55 million deaths.
This puts the administration between a rock and a hard place. They can open up and risk many lives because of a possible COVID outbreak or stay locked down. The study also said that if the country had vaccines and antivirals and found ways to implement “non-pharmaceutical interventions,” it could stop the health system from being overwhelmed.
“We find that the level of immunity induced by the March 2022 vaccination campaign would be insufficient to prevent an Omicron wave that would result in exceeding critical care capacity with a projected intensive care unit peak demand of 15.6 times the existing capacity,” the paper said. With China’s insufficient vaccine coverage and uneven health resource distribution, some experts have also warned against opening up for now.
“These obligations include complying with epidemiological investigations, testing and sampling and obeying quarantine requirements," said Sun Xiaodong, Deputy Director of the Shanghai Municipal Center for Disease Control and Prevention, at a media briefing, pointing out a clause in China’s infectious disease law which obligates every individual to comply with regulations adopted by health care agencies to prevent the spread of COVID.