China Covid deaths likely running above 5,000 per day – UK research firm Airfinity | Daily News Byte

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BEIJING, Dec 22 (Reuters) – More than 5,000 people are dying from COVID-19 in China every day, health data firm Airfinity has estimated, offering a dramatic contrast to official data from Beijing on the country’s current outbreak.

The UK-based firm said it used modeling based on regional Chinese data to produce figures that also put the country’s current daily infections above one million.

Its estimates “were in stark contrast to official data reporting 1,800 cases and only seven official deaths in the past week,” it said in a statement.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. On Thursday it reported no new COVID-19 deaths and 2,966 new locally cured cases as of December 21.

A senior official at the World Health Organization said on Wednesday that China may be struggling to keep up with the number of Covid infections as it experiences a major surge in cases.

China’s sudden U-turn on its previous zero-COVID policy following protests has raised global concerns of widespread infection among vulnerable, under-vaccinated populations. It has stopped mass testing and no longer reports asymptomatic cases.

Airfinity said its fatality risk analysis suggests 1.3 to 2.1 million people could die in China’s current Covid outbreak. Analyzes by other modeling groups also predicted as many as 2.1 million deaths.

Airfinity estimates that a wave of 3.7 million per day could peak in mid-January in regions where cases are currently rising, and 4.2 million per day in other provinces in March.

The company said cases are currently rising fastest in Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong.

According to its website, in 2020 it created “the world’s first dedicated COVID-19 health analytics and intelligence platform that is now a trusted source for decision makers and the media globally.”

This week, a leading Chinese medical expert said that only deaths from pneumonia and respiratory failure after contracting Covid would be classified as caused by the coronavirus.

Airfinity’s Head of Vaccines and Epidemiology Dr. Louis Blair said the change “is different from other countries that report deaths within the time frame of a positive test (and) … may reduce the extent of deaths seen in China.”

Reported by Martin Quinn Pollard; Writing by Liz Lee; Edited by John Stonestreet

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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