China estimates 37 million people had Covid in a single day, a record
Covid In China: If accurate, the infection rate could be much higher than the previous daily record of about 4 million, set in January 2022.
Nearly 37 million people in China may have been infected with Covid on a single day this week, according to estimates from the government’s top health authority. This makes the country’s outbreak by far the world’s largest as almost 248 million people, or nearly 18% of the population, have likely contracted the virus in the first 20 days of December.
If accurate, the infection rate could be much higher than the previous daily record of about 4 million, set in January 2022, according to minutes from an internal meeting of China’s National Health Commission (NHC), Bloomberg reported.
This comes following Beijing’s swift dismantling of Covid Zero restrictions which has led to the spread of the highly contagious omicron variants. More than half the residents of Sichuan province, in China’s southwest, and the capital Beijing have been infected, agency’s estimates showed. However, the process of estimating the number remained unclear.
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There was no estimate made on how many people have died due to Covid but the minutes cited Ma Xiaowei, the head of the NHC, reiterating the narrower definition used to count Covid fatalities, Bloomberg reported.
Officials said Beijing is starting to see severe and critical Covid cases peak even as its overall infection rate is waning. Meanwhile, the outbreak is spreading from urban centers to rural China as the agency warned every region to prepare for the coming surge in severe disease.
The 37 million daily cases estimated for December 20 also marks a dramatic deviation from the official tally of just 3,049 infections reported in China for that day. It is also several times higher than the previous world record for the pandemic. Global cases hit an all-time high of 4 million on January 19, 2022, amid an wave of omicron infections following its emergence in South Africa.