WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW:
- New estimates from health data firm Airfinity approximate China’s current COVID-19 outbreak mortality at 5,000 people.
- China’s National Health Commission (NHC) estimates 1,800 cases daily.
- The U-turn in China’s zero-COVID meant no mass testing and recording of asymptomatic cases and may have affected its data tally.
Contrary to official data from Beijing, UK-based health data firm Airfinity estimates that the current daily deaths from China’s recent COVID-19 outbreak are at 5,000.
They also said that based on regional Chinese data, above a million people are infected each day.
In the firm’s statement they said, its figures were “in stark contrast to the official data which is reporting 1,800 cases and only seven official deaths over the past week.”
According to Reuters, there was no response to a request for comment from China’s National Health Commission (NHC) with regard to Airfinity’s report. The Chinese agency reported 2,966 new local symptomatic cases and no new COVID-19 deaths.
Airfinity’s mortality risk analysis hinted between 1.3 to 2.1 million could perish in the current outbreak. Other modeling groups have predicted deaths at 2.1 million.
Estimates also suggested that there would be two peaks in cases in the country — 3.7 million daily in mid-January and 4.2 million daily in March in other provinces where cases are rising.
Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong have the fastest rise in cases.
China made an abrupt U-turn in its zero-COVID policy after protests were launched globally but it also raised concerns about extensive infections in those unvaccinated and vulnerable populations. There are no longer reports of asymptomatic cases and mass testing has stopped. China may be struggling to provide up-to-date data on their COVID-19 infections according to a senior World Health Organization official.
Just this week, only deaths from pneumonia and respiratory diseases from having COVID-19 will be considered coronavirus mortality, a leading Chinese medical expert said.
Airfinity’s Head of Vaccines and Epidemiology Dr. Louise Blair said this change was “different to other countries that record deaths within a time frame of a positive test (and)… could downplay the extent of deaths seen in China.”
In 2020, Airfinity’s website said it built “the world’s first dedicated COVID-19 health analytics and intelligence platform which is now the trusted source of decision-makers and media globally.”