BLOOMBERG- After years of meticulously testing to find every last case of Covid-19, Chinese President Xi Jinping is now effectively looking the other way as the virus ravages the nation’s 1.4 billion people.
Authorities have stopped releasing data on infections and only officially recognized an absurdly low number of Covid deaths. The lack of information has prompted the US and other countries to impose testing requirements on travelers, and the World Health Organization this week called for greater transparency.
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Xi’s bigger problem, however, is at home. As much as China’s state media outlets hail the abrupt end of Covid Zero as a science-based decision, the impact is becoming real for the masses.
Infections are rampant. Medical supplies are running out. Hospitals are becoming overwhelmed. And crematoriums can’t handle the surge of fatalities.
What’s more, the problem could get worse. Airfinity, a London-based research firm that focuses on predictive health analytics, estimates that deaths could nearly triple to as many as 25,000 per day later in January.
Xi is betting that citizens will soon forget the stress of mass testing, citywide lockdowns and now widespread sickness and death once they can travel more freely around the country and the world.
Commuters at a subway station in Shanghai on Tuesday. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
WORLD COVID STATS
January 6 (GMT)