(TibetanReview.net, Jan15’23) – Following persistent, all-round ridicule of its very obviously false claim of just a handful of Covid-19 deaths, China has finally admitted that the number of those who died from the pandemic infection was nearly 60,000 over the past 35 days. However, the actual figure could be much higher still as these are only reportedly suppressed hospital figures, and that too mostly in urban centres.
A total of 59,938 deaths related to Covid-19 occurred in medical institutions nationwide from Dec 8, 2022 to Jan 12, 2023, reported the official Xinhua news agency Jan 14, citing a health official.
A total of 5,503 people died of respiratory failure caused by Covid-19, and 54,435 died of underlying issues complicated by Covid-19 infection, the report quoted Jiao Yahui, head of the Bureau of Medical Administration under the National Health Commission, as saying at a press conference held by the State Council joint Covid-19 prevention and control mechanism.
China earlier said it would count in its Covid fatality figure, only those who die due to respiratory failure in its official data, while reports said hospitals had been discouraged from reporting such causes of deaths.
Jiao has said the average age at the time of death was 80.3 years, with about 90.1% aged 65 years and above, and about 56.5 percent aged 80 and above.
International health experts have predicted at least 1 million Covid-related deaths this year, while China had previously reported just over 5,000 deaths since the pandemic began, one of the lowest death rates in the world, noted Reuters Jan 14.
The report cited Jiao as claiming fever and emergency hospitalizations had peaked and the number of hospitalized patients was continuing to decline.
It also said authorities had been reporting five or fewer deaths a day over the past month – figures inconsistent with long queues seen at funeral homes and body bags seen leaving crowded hospitals.
The report noted that the World Health Organization had said this week that China was heavily under-reporting deaths from Covid.
What is more, China has repeatedly defended the veracity of its data on the disease, the report said.
Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, has said it was unclear whether the new data accurately reflects actual fatalities because doctors are discouraged from reporting Covid-related deaths and the numbers include only deaths in hospitals.
“In the countryside, for example, many elderly people died at home but were not tested for Covid due to the lack of access to test kits or their unwillingness to get tested,” he has said.