China reports 59,938 COVID-related deaths in over a month
China's health authorities on Saturday reported almost 60,000 COVID-related deaths in just over a month, the first major death toll released since the lifting of its COVID restrictions in early December.
There were a total of 59,938 COVID-related deaths between December 8, 2022 and January 12 this year, Jiao Yahui, head of the Bureau of Medical Administration under the National Health Commission, told a press conference on Saturday.
Of those fatalities, 5,503 were caused by respiratory failure due to the COVID, with the remainder resulting from a combination of underlying and other diseases, she said.
The average age of the dead is 80.3, with 90.1 percent of them over 65 years old and 56.5 percent over 80. Over 90 percent of the deaths had underlying diseases such as cardivovascular diseases, late-stage tumors, cerebral vascular diseases, or respiratory diseases, Jiao stressed.
Jiao said China attributes COVID-related deaths to two causes, one for respiratory failure due to coronavirus infection and the other for underlying diseases combined with COVID infection.
"The standard is basically in line with those adopted by the World Health Organization and other major countries," she said.
COVID wave past its peak
Jiao said the number of patients who need emergency treatment is declining and the ratio of patients who had tested positive is steadily falling as well.
The number of hospitalized COVID patients across the country peaked at 128,000 on January 5. It dropped to 105,000 on January 12. Jiao said there are enough medical resources for the critically ill.
On December 23, 2022, a total of 60,000 fever clinics across the country received over 2.8 million patients, reaching the peak, but then the daily number dropped gradually to 47,700 on January 12, 83.3 percent less than the peak time.
Emergency hospital units across the country treated 1.526 million patients on January 2, then the number dropped to 1.092 million on January 12, down by 28.4 percent.
Among those patients, 8.8 percent tested positive on December 22. The ratio of COVID-positive patients dropped to 2.9 percent on January 12.
"The number of fever-clinic visitors are in a declining trend, both in cities and rural areas," Jiao said.