37 million people a day are being infected with COVID-19 in China

China’s top health authority has released some alarming data.
Loukia Papadopoulos
A Chinese medical worker in Shanghai tests a woman for COVID-19.jpg
A Chinese medical worker in Shanghai tests a woman for COVID-19.

shisheng ling/iStock 

New estimates from China’s top health authority have been released indicating how many people in the nation are being infected with COVID-19 on a daily basis and the number is alarming, according to a report by Bloomberg published on Friday. Nearly 37 million people may have caught the virus on a single day this week, making the country’s outbreak the world’s largest. 

18 percent of the population infected

In just the first 20 days of December, as many as 248 million people, amounting to 18 percent of the population, likely contracted the virus in the struggling nation. This is according to an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission held on Wednesday. The new data is especially disconcerting considering the previous daily record set in January of this year was only 4 million. 

The rise of COVID-19 cases comes after Beijing dismantled restrictions related to the virus. This has led to a significant spread of the highly contagious omicron variant in a population that has low levels of natural immunity. 

The National Health Commission now estimates that more than half the residents of Sichuan province, in China’s southwest, and the capital Beijing have been infected. How these estimates have been collected remains a mystery as nations everywhere struggle to get precise infection rates since hard-to-get laboratory tests have been supplanted by home testing. 

Best efforts applied

China has done its best to fight the incoming surge of COVID-19 cases. The nation has even notably used artificial intelligence tools to screen patients. In March of 2020, a team of physicians in Wuhan, at the Zhongnan Hospital, began introducing inferVISION into their medical processes, an AI-based software that can quickly highlight potential problem cases in record time.

37 million people a day are being infected with COVID-19 in China
A Chinese resident receiving a COVID-19 test.

That same year, the nation deployed drones to ensure its population was reinforcing social distancing measures. In addition, it was also reported that the country was using robots in hospitals to alleviate the pressure from over-worked medical staff and to provide faster checks of the virus. 

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In May of 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) granted emergency use approval for China's Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine. Sinipharm was at the time the first jab from China categorized as both safe and effective by the agency.

In September of 2022, the nation became the first country to approve the world's first inhaled vaccine. The needle-free vaccines could be self-administered, potentially easing pressure on healthcare resources and making it easier for China’s population to protect itself.

Despite these measures, it seems China has failed to keep the coronavirus in check. This could be due to the highly contagious nature of the new variants that make it increasingly difficult to keep infections at bay.

Will the nation return to lock down and will this be enough to keep the virus from spreading far and wide? Only time will tell.

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