Shanghai hospital chiefs say they're ready for 'tragic Covid battle' ahead

Shanghai hospital chiefs say they’re ready for ‘tragic Covid battle’ ahead

Image source: Fox

A hospital in Shanghai has urged its staff to prepare for a “tragic battle” with Covid-19 as half of the city’s 25 million residents are expected to be infected by the end of the year as the virus spreads through China in largely out of control.

However, the official death toll in China from the start of the pandemic to early 2020 is 5,241, a fraction of what most other countries have faced.

China reported no new Covid deaths on Dec. 21 for the second day in a row, even as funeral homes say demand has skyrocketed over the past week.

Authorities who narrowed the criteria for Covid deaths confirmed 389,306 cases with symptoms.

Some experts say official data has become an unreliable guide as fewer tests are conducted after restrictions were eased across China.

Shanghai Deji Hospital, posting yesterday on its official WeChat account, estimated that there were about 5.43 million positives in the city, and 12.5 million will be infected in China’s main commercial hub by the end of the year.

“This year’s Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day, and the Lunar New Year are destined to be unsafe,” the hospital said, reports RTE.

To prevent the virus from spreading across China, residents of Shanghai suffered a two-month lockdown that ended on June 1, with many losing income and having little access to basic necessities. Hundreds of dead and hundreds of thousands infected in those two months.

Experts say China could face more than a million Covid deaths next year.

The head of the World Health Organization said he was concerned about the increase in infections and supported the government’s focus on vaccinating those most at risk.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters the agency needed more detailed information on disease severity, hospital admissions and intensive care unit requirements for a comprehensive assessment.

China’s policy reversal has caught a fragile health system off guard, with hospitals fighting for beds and blood, pharmacies for drugs and government agencies building specialty clinics.

Smaller cities off the wealthy eastern and southern coasts are particularly at risk.

Tongchuan, a city of 700,000 in the northwestern province of Shaanxi, yesterday called on all health workers who have retired in the past five years to join the fight against Covid.

State media said local governments were trying to address drug shortages as drug companies were working overtime to boost supplies.

Dongguan, a sprawling city in southern China, said a total of 100,000 ibuprofen tablets have arrived in the city and will be distributed to 41 state pharmacies this week before being made available free of charge, the Global Times reported.

In Wuhan, the central city where the virus was first detected in late 2019, 3 million ibuprofen tablets have been shipped to medical institutions and retail pharmacies every day since Dec. 17, the report said.

Germany said it has sent its first batch of BioNTech Covid vaccines to China to give to German expats initially.

Berlin is pushing for more foreigners to welcome them.

These would be the first mRNA vaccines available in China, believed to be the most effective against the disease.

China has approved the use of nine domestically developed Covid vaccines.

Some Chinese experts expect the Covid surge to peak at the end of January.

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