Deaths due to coronavirus in China’s Beijing reached 5,242 on Tuesday. Several media reports have even suggested the Chinese government may be hiding the true toll of the virus.
Masked commuters walk through a walkway in Beijing, China (Photo: AP)
By India Today Web Desk: China’s Covid-19 outbreak may spawn new mutations of the virus, the United States has raised concerns. The development comes as the Xi Jinping-led country witnesses a wave of virus infection and continues to loosen the ‘Covid Zero’ protocol in the wake of massive protests.
Speaking at a press briefing, State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday said, “When it comes to the current outbreak in China, we want to see this addressed.”
“We know that anytime the virus is spreading in the wild that it has the potential to mutate and to pose a threat to people everywhere,” he added.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other health agencies are studying the emergence of new Covid-19 variants, as coronavirus waves hit different countries around the world.
In a statement, the CDC said the new variations “allow the virus to spread more easily or make it resistant to treatments or vaccines.”
The US is also sending a delegation led by Secretary of State Antony Blinken to Beijing early next year, Price said, adding the country hopes China can get its current Covid-19 outbreak under control.
“The toll of the virus is of concern to the rest of the world, given the size of China’s GDP,” Ned Price said.
“It’s not only good for China to be in a stronger position vis-a-vis Covid, but it’s good for the rest of the world as well,” he added.
COVID RIPS THROUGH CHINA
A spike in feverish clinic patients and funeral procedures points to a widening Covid outbreak in China.
Unofficial reports suggest a widespread wave of new coronavirus cases, even as relatives of victims and people who work in the funeral business said deaths tied to Covid-19 were increasing.
The National Health Commission on Tuesday said five newly recorded fatalities, all in Beijing, had taken the country’s total death toll to 5,242. However, several media reports have suggested the Chinese government may be hiding the true toll of the virus.
With people testing and recuperating at home, China has said it is no longer possible to keep an accurate count of new case numbers, making it substantially more difficult to gauge the state of the current wave of infection and its direction.
Some scientific models have estimated numbers will rise with an eventual death toll in the tens or hundreds of thousands.