The Chinese health authorities have recognized this Saturday 59,938 deaths related to the covid-19 virus in just over a month since Beijing decided to end the iron pandemic control policy overnight.
The deceased, according to the data offered in an appearance, had an average of 80.3 years.
Among the deaths, registered from December 8 to January 12, 5,503 deaths were due to respiratory function failures caused by covid infections;
the remaining 54,435 were from people infected by covid, but with underlying conditions, such as cancer or cardiovascular disease.
The publication of new figures comes after pressure from the World Health Organization (WHO), which has been criticizing Beijing for weeks for its lack of transparency and for underrepresenting the coup.
“We continue to ask China for faster, regular and reliable data on hospitalizations and deaths, as well as more complete and real-time viral sequencing,” WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked last week.
This week, the Chinese health authorities stressed in a hearing that it was "unnecessary to obsess" with the identification of deaths from covid while the country suffers a huge wave of infections.
Liang Wannian, head of China's National Health Commission's expert panel on Covid-19, said it is "somehow impossible" to pinpoint every single death right now, conceding that the most accurate way to estimate the The figure would be comparing the current excess of deaths with that of previous years.
90.1% of the patients who died with covid recognized this Saturday were 65 or over, as explained to the press by Jiao Yahui, head of Medical Administration of the National Health Commission.
Jiao has emphasized that, since winter is a season with a high incidence of respiratory, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases in the elderly, since other factors such as covid-19 infection have recently been added, the number of deaths in the elderly is “relatively high”.
Jiao has also assured that the current wave would have already passed the worst moment.
“The number of visitors to fever clinics [aimed at caring for patients with covid symptoms] is generally on a downward trend after peaking,” both in cities and in rural areas, he said.
On January 5, Chinese hospitals had 128,000 patients with severe covid, while on January 12 there were 105,000, according to the data provided.
At the peak of the wave, on December 23 —two weeks after the reopening— the fever clinics received the visit of 2.8 million patients;
on January 12 they received 477,000.
After the 180-degree turn in its anti-pandemic strategy, carried out on December 7, until Monday of this week, the most populous country in the world had officially reported only 37 deaths from covid.
This is: little more than one victim per day in a giant with 1,400 million inhabitants.
Until the change in health policy, China had acknowledged only 5,235 deaths since the start of the pandemic in 2020. The figures published to date contrasted with numerous testimonies and images of overcrowded hospitals and full morgues.
The health consultancy Airfinity has estimated that 1.7 million could die in China by April 2023.
The country has also been criticized for the lack of preparation after three years dedicated to keeping the virus at zero through technological applications, confinements to the minimum outbreak and massive testing of the population.
But Beijing had denounced that the criticism – which would highlight the lack of a reopening plan – was directed by the Western media and politicians in order to criticize the country's government.
At this time, when the Chinese New Year holiday period - which is celebrated on January 22 - has already started, it is feared that the wave of infections will spread from large cities to rural areas, where medical resources are more scarce.
The Chinese Executive expects some 2,000 million displacements these weeks in what is usually known as the largest migratory movement on the planet.