(TibetanReview.net, Aug26’23) – China’s sudden lifting of Covid-19 restrictions late last year led to nearly two million more deaths than would have been the case otherwise over the following two months, reported Reuters Aug 25, citing a study based on Chinese and other sources.
The report said the study by the federally funded Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center in Seattle, Washington state, was taken from a sample of mortality data published by some universities in China and internet searches.
The study was stated to have found that an estimated 1.87 million excess deaths from all causes occurred among people over 30 years of age between Dec 2022 and Jan 2023, and were observed in all provinces in the PRC except Tibet.
The report noted that China’s decision last December to end the three-year zero-Covid policy, which included mass-testing and stringent and persistent quarantine lockdowns, led to a massive surge in hospitalisations and deaths that health experts say were largely unreported by the government.
The study, published Aug 24 in JAMA Network Open, was cited as saying the number of excess deaths far exceeded official Chinese government estimates in January that 60,000 people with Covid-19 had died in hospital since the zero-Covid policy was abandoned a month earlier.
The study’s researchers were stated to have performed statistical analysis using information from published obituaries and data from searches on Baidu, a popular Chinese internet search engine.
“Our study of excess deaths related to the lifting of the zero-Covid policy in China sets an empirically derived benchmark estimate. These findings are important for understanding how the sudden propagation of Covid-19 across a population may impact population mortality,” the researchers have written.
China stopped reporting official daily Covid-19 death results at the end of 2022, just after it lifted the Covid restrictions.
The virus is still making its rounds in the country and on Aug 24, Beijing health officials said Covid is still the number one infectious disease in the capital, the report said, citing Chinese state media.