Expert predicts increase in COVID cases but threat lower
In a keynote speech in Beijing, China CDC's chief infectious disease expert Wu Zunyou said that around 10 to 30 percent of Chinese people will get COVID-19 this winter, and the fatality rate will range between 0.09 to 0.16 percent
China's eased COVID policies were introduced at the right moment as the Omicron variant has significantly decreased pathogenicity, buying time for people to gain protection from inoculation, Wu told the CAIJING Annual Conference 2023: Forecasts and Strategies.
"The past three years have been extremely difficult," Wu said. "We have waited for the virus to become weaker and for its threat to people's health lower."
The percentage of serious and critically ill patients in China decreased from 16.47 percent in 2020 to 3.32 percent last year.
"This year, until December 5, the rate was 0.18 percent," Wu explained.
The time when China has chosen to scale back restrictions was when the lowest number of deaths were reported per week in three years, and when the deaths per week dropped below 10,000 for several weeks worldwide.
Wu refuted this hypothesis that China's relaxed measures should have come at the beginning of this year.
According to projections, if the restrictions had been lifted at the beginning of this year, 866,000 to 1.039 million more people would have died on China's mainland, Wu explained.
Wu urged everybody to get vaccinated, wear masks and maintain good hygiene to ride through the peaks this winter.