China reports 1st COVID-19 deaths in weeks — and that number may rise, experts say – ABC News

by | Dec 19, 2022 | COVID-19

China is reporting its first deaths linked to COVID-19 in weeks as cases surge amid the country lifting many of its so-called “zero COVID” policies.The deaths, which were reported on Monday by the National Health Commission and occurred in Beijing, are the first recorded since Dec. 4.No information was available about the deaths including the names, ages, sex and vaccination status of the patients.For most of the pandemic, China has implemented strict measures, including widespread lockdowns and mass testing in an attempt to prevent outbreaks.But over the past few months, there have been large outcries and growing public resentment over the disruption to daily life, leading Beijing to ease some restrictions such as people being allowed to isolate at home and schools without known infections being able to resume classes.Customers buy medicine at a pharmacy as the local government distributes more fever medicines to the market, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Nanjing, Jiangsu province, China, Dec. 19, 2022.China Daily/VIA ReutersHowever, a public health expert told ABC News a combination of under-vaccination and large swaths of unprotected vulnerable populations will lead to more deaths.”What will happen with the new policy right now is most of the population in China will be infected by COVID,” said Dr. Ali Mokdad, an epidemiologist and chief strategy officer at the University of Washington Population Health Initiative. “In one way or another, they’ll be infected.”According to the NHC, China has only recorded 5,237 COVID-19 deaths — much lower than the tolls reported by other Western c …

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