China Downplaying Virus Surge, Other Nations Worried, World Covid Stats

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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.

Key reading:

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.

But the lasting impact remains to be seen. Just as Xi became the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, people hit the streets and found a way to push back and get him to reverse course within a matter of days.

In his New Year’s address, Xi appeared to recognize that he needed to tread carefully. He said it was “only natural” for the nation’s people to disagree on some issues, adding that the pandemic “has not been an easy journey for anyone.”

At least that’s one statement the world can trust. — Daniel Ten Kate

Commuters at a subway station in Shanghai on Tuesday. Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg

WORLD COVID STATS

Coronavirus Cases:

667,479,745

Deaths:

6,707,189

Recovered:

638,911,112
Highlighted in green
= all cases have recovered from the infection
Highlighted in grey
= all cases have had an outcome (there are no active cases)

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Latest News

January 6 (GMT)

Updates
  • 245,542 new cases and 456 new deaths in Japan [source]
  • 9,548 new cases and 5 new deaths in China [source]

 

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