China: Hospitals struggle amid COVID-19 surge, refusing to admit patients
Health infrastructure has reportedly been struggling in many provinces of China amid an "explosion" of COVID-19 cases. Hospitals in Hebei province are allegedly refusing patients while Zhejiang is witnessing a surge of one million patients on a daily basis, Associated Press reported. The country is currently dealing with its first-ever nationwide COVID-19 wave, with Intensive Care Units (ICUs) and crematoriums being overburdened.
Why does this story matter?
- After widespread protests against the strict lockdown of over three months and other curbs, China relaxed restrictions under its "zero-COVID-19" policy earlier in December.
- Reportedly, many cities have relaxed quarantine rules, testing requirements, and control of movement.
- However, the country is now facing a fresh spike in coronavirus cases, especially due to Omicron BF.7.
- Reportedly, crematoriums and healthcare facilities are becoming overwhelmed across China.
Overloaded ICUs, congested crematoriums paint grim picture
According to reports, China is going through its first-ever nationwide COVID-19 wave, which has overloaded ICUs. The problem arose after officials lifted long-term quarantines, lockdowns, and obligatory testing. Although China documented only seven COVID-19-related deaths since loosening restrictions, anecdotal reports of congested crematoriums paint a different image. Per AP, older persons have predominantly been affected in Hebei, producing an overflow of ICUs and crematoriums.
Ambulances with critical patients turned away
Ambulances with critical patients were being turned away from Baoding No. 2 Hospital in Zhuozhou city because the ICUs are overloaded, per reports. Reports claim that employees don't let attendants bring in patients due to a lack of oxygen and electricity. "If you don't want any delays, turn around and get out quickly!" AP quoted a worker shouting at attendants.
Zhejiang province logs million daily cases
Zhejiang, a large industrial region near Shanghai in China, is fighting a million new COVID-19 infections every day. Officials estimate the number to more than double in the coming days. Recently, the cities of Qingdao and Dongguan each estimated tens of thousands of daily COVID-19 infections. The toll is far greater than the national daily spike average.
WHO expressed concern over China's COVID-19 scenario
The World Health Organization (WHO) voiced its alarm about reports of serious infections in China. So far, 50 of the 130 Omicron variants found in China have reportedly caused epidemics. However, Jeremy Luban, a virologist at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, said that there was little information regarding genetic viral sequencing coming out of China.
60% of China will be affected with COVID-19: American epidemiologist
Last week, American epidemiologist-public health scientist Eric Feigl-Ding stated China was witnessing a huge rise in coronavirus infections after the easing of COVID-19 restrictions. According to him, hospitals in China are utterly overwhelmed. Feigl-Ding predicted that over 60% of China's population would be infected with COVID-19 in the next 90 days, along with 10% of the world's population, reportedly causing millions of deaths globally.