With holiday travels during the Lunar New Year celebration in China having reached 90 percent of their pre-pandemic levels and tourist locations packed with vacationing revelers, the corporate press is claiming that COVID is finally over.

Such distortions only promote a completely anti-public-health sentiment that places supposed personal liberties above the well-being of community, threatening the physical survival of those now “free” to move about and mix socially. This will have significant repercussions for populations of every country and entrench the oft-stated policy that the “cure can’t be worse than the disease.” The international default policy openly values the economy, i.e. profits, over the lives of people, in this and any future pandemic.

China’s Ministry of Culture and Tourism has reported there have been more than 300 million trips thus far during the holidays. The chief China economist at Nomura Holdings inc., Ting Lu, told Bloomberg News“Pent-up demand is being released as many people rush to scenic spots, watch firework shows and crowd into restaurants and hotels. He added that government-released data “suggest the ‘exit wave’ is quickly coming to an end.”

Patients receive intravenous drips in an emergency ward in Beijing, Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023. China on Thursday accused "some Western media" of bias, smears and political manipulation in their coverage of China's abrupt ending of its strict "zero-COVID" policy, as it issued a vigorous defense of actions taken to prepare for the change of strategy. [AP Photo/Andy Wong]

The former editor-in-chief of the Global Times, Hu Xijin, wrote on social media, “The epidemic seemed to disappear from the vast majority of people suddenly. The Chinese Lunar New Year is very lively. The consumption has resumed rapidly.”

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) official figures for the week ending December 19, 2022, the world saw a single-week pandemic high of 45 million COVID cases, nearly twice that of the BA.1 Omicron wave that ran roughshod across the globe a year ago. This is the result of the demise of the Zero-COVID policy that had kept deaths to an enviably low figure in China of just over 5,000 in a country of 1.4 billion people. 

Since the surge in December throughout China, global COVID deaths jumped fourfold to over 40,000 for the week ending January 2, 2023, with “more than half of them from China,” as noted by WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. Official figures from Chinese health authorities have reported the following numbers of COVID-related deaths: 

·       December 8 to January 12:  59,938 deaths

·       January 13 to January 19: 12,658 deaths

Source link