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China COVID Cases | Long queue in the crematorium, only seven cases of unsealing and death? Expert: China’s mortality rate is probably a serious underestimate

A man walks out of a Beijing crematorium with an urn of his loved ones. (17 December 2022)
A man walks out of a Beijing crematorium with an urn of his loved ones. (17 December 2022)

TAIPEI — In the two weeks since China lifted its lockdown, the number of infections has soared, with some hospitals reporting that even the aisles are crowded with sick calls, morgues are full of corpses, and even crematoriums on the outskirts of Beijing are lined up. However, according to China’s official epidemic notice released this week, only 7 people have died of the epidemic since the lockdown was lifted, which is in stark contrast to the situation of thousands of bodies in funeral homes waiting to be cremated, prompting Chinese netizens to question one after another. Taiwanese health expert Tu Xingzhe told the media that China’s mortality rate excluding underlying diseases is probably seriously underestimated by international standards, ranging from 70% to 50% to more than 90%.

After China’s lifting of the lockdown, the number of civil infections increased rapidly, and many netizens on Weibo shared the painful experience of “roasting the whole sheep”, whether at home or at work, that is, infected with the new crown virus positive fever and chills.

A female citizen who lives in Guangxi and asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue told the media that she and her two daughters who are out of town are “sheep (positive)”, and the people in the unit take turns to be yang. She said that family and friends around her took turns to have fever and chills, and a few days passed, but she herself “did not sweat when taking fever-reducing drugs, and the whole body was more painful than childbirth, and she woke up in the middle of the night, afraid of convulsions, nosebleeds, and even coughing up blood.” ”

Medical staff at the Second Central Hospital in Baoding, Hebei Province, nursing patients. (21 December 2022)
Medical staff at the Second Central Hospital in Baoding, Hebei Province, nursing patients. (21 December 2022)

Guangzhou hospital run 120 can’t get through

But she said that her symptoms still seem to be milder than those in Guangzhou, because her daughter’s symptoms in Guangzhou are very serious, with coughing and dizziness for more than ten days, and only recently eased up.

In response to the medical situation, she said that the hospital near her home was not crowded, but there were many people queuing up for nucleic acid tests in recent days, but “the hospital in Guangzhou was very crowded, 120 could not be opened, and the appointment was eight hours later, and the hospital let people go home and carry it hard.”

Chinese netizens sent out a number of short videos through Twitter, revealing the real tragic situation of China’s epidemic, in the video, it can be seen that in addition to some hospital aisles crowded with beds one by one, there are also people waiting to see patients crowded in the outer courtyard of the hospital, and even suspected that at least 50 body bags covered with yellow mourning cloths have been placed on the ground of the morgue of a hospital, waiting for transfer.

Foreign media reporters in Beijing, such as British BBC reporter Stephen McDonel, also tweeted that as far as his local observation is concerned, Beijing, which has a population of 20 million, may have infected tens of millions of people, and even the capital’s most complete medical system has been severely paralyzed.

However, since the lifting of the lockdown on December 7 or because all employees are no longer tested for nucleic acid, the official epidemic statistics have not increased but decreased, which is a great contrast to online public opinion, and the first two deaths were not reported until Monday (December 19).

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Workers at a crematorium in Beijing remove the coffin. (17 December 2022)
Workers at a crematorium in Beijing remove the coffin. (17 December 2022)

Official data: 7 deaths in the two weeks since the lifting of the lockdown

According to the latest epidemic report of the National Health Commission as of December 20, there are 37,11L confirmed cases (329 severe cases) and a cumulative death case of 5,241 cases in China, of which 7 are those who died two weeks after the lockdown, with 2 deaths on December 18 and 5 deaths on December 19.

The contrast between the single-digit cases of illness and death after the official lifting of the lockdown and the long queues of cars outside the funeral home has caused netizens to continue to question.

A female staff member at a funeral home in the eastern suburbs of Beijing that specializes in collecting coronavirus remains told the media on Wednesday (Dec. 21) that the cremation procession is now scheduled for Jan. 1 next year.

The staff member said: “Eastern suburbs funeral homes can accept new crown remains, [but] there is a queue, which may have to be queued until the end of the month.” If you come to do business now (December 21), you may get January 1st, which is the postponed date, and now you can tell that it is already around January 1st.

She suggested that you can try it at funeral homes in other districts and counties, but I am afraid that you will also have to queue up and have to contact yourself to understand the specific situation!

The staff member did not want to disclose how many remains were still waiting to be cremated in the museum, but a number of foreign media, including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, and Agence France-Presse, quoted different staff members as saying that the Eastern Suburbs funeral home was recently changed to a 24-hour system, and 8 cremation furnaces were also operating around the clock, “overloaded”, and the original daily business volume was 30-40 deceased, but “this time as soon as it was released, it was 200 (with remains) every day.” Around. ”

Hearse lines outside the gates of a crematorium in Beijing. (17 December 2022)
Hearse lines outside the gates of a crematorium in Beijing. (17 December 2022)

2,000 bodies may be awaiting cremation at the Eastern Suburbs Funeral Home In

In other words, according to the fragmentary information provided by the staff, there may be more than 2,000 bodies waiting to be cremated in the crematorium of the Beijing Eastern Suburbs funeral home alone. In this regard, Chinese netizens have been talking about it.

A netizen in Zhejiang said: “Yang’s data is not correct, how can the death rate be accurate.”

Another local Weibo netizen in Beijing also said: “There are several cases of young people I know in Beijing who died because of the new crown, and I haven’t seen the number of counts.”

A Weibo netizen in Hubei Province wrote: “I send away an old man in this yard almost every day, and today (December 18) is the seventh.

A Shanghainese netizen asserted that China’s data was fake, writing: “People who were previously sealed and sealed will not be counted, and now people who have died of illness will not be counted.” They will only make up a number at the end and rest assured, the number must be much smaller than in the United States.

Other netizens scolded: “Is this number worthy of the masters who work in the funeral home?” Or criticize the Chinese government’s epidemic prevention and liberalization work “very poor, medicine cannot be bought, symptoms are very serious… Very disappointed.

In response to public opinion questioning the official death data, Wang Guiqiang, director of the Department of Infectious Diseases at Peking University First Hospital, was asked by reporters at a press conference of the State Council’s joint prevention and control mechanism on December 20 about the criteria for judging new crown deaths.

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Workers at a crematorium in Beijing work next to a hearse. (17 December 2022)
Workers at a crematorium in Beijing work next to a hearse. (17 December 2022)

Wang Guiqiang: Death criteria exclude underlying diseases

Wang Guiqiang said: “Now Omicron strain infection is mainly in the invasion of the upper respiratory tract, the proportion of lower respiratory pneumonia is relatively low, of course, there is also some pneumonia, resulting in respiratory failure This situation is rare, this can also be seen from clinical practice, the main cause of death after Omicron strain infection is still underlying disease.”

He added: “Very few elderly people die directly from respiratory failure caused by new coronavirus infection. In order to scientifically and realistically reflect the death caused by the new crown epidemic, the Health Commission recently organized experts to conduct demonstrations and issued notices to clarify the relevant interpretation of relevant death cases. The main two aspects, pneumonia caused by the new coronavirus and deaths caused by respiratory failure, are classified as deaths caused by the new coronavirus infection. Deaths caused by other diseases and underlying diseases, such as cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases, myocardial infarction, etc., are not classified as deaths caused by the new crown. ”

In this regard, Tu Xingzhe, Taiwan’s former director of health and current chairman of the Biotechnology Development Center in Taipei, said that if China’s death standard is to exclude new crown patients with underlying diseases, then China’s new crown deaths may be underestimated by at least seventy to five by international standards.

Tu Xingzhe: “The vast majority of deaths from infections are due to underlying diseases. In 2020, a study was done in New York, and in general, deaths were purely due to infection, and no other causes were found, only about 0.7%. There is some information that is too late to ask, unclear questions, and if it is calculated as a death due to a new crown infection, all add up to only 25%, so 75% of people have some underlying other diseases. If viewed in this way, this new definition would reduce the number of deaths reported by China by more than 75 percent, to 99 percent, compared to their original definition. Taiwan

Expert: China’s mortality rate is super underestimated

Tu Xingzhe said that although patients with underlying diseases have a certain survival period, such as cancer patients if infected with the new crown, causing non-cancer and other underlying diseases, such as fever or upper respiratory tract inflammation and death before the possible survival period, the international mortality rate of the new crown will not be excluded. He said that if China’s current death standards exclude such patients, the final new crown death rate is of course seriously short of international standards.

According to a research report provided by Tu Xingzhe, statistics in early 2020 in New York found that of the 15,230 cases that died of the new crown, 11,370 had underlying diseases, accounting for about 75%, and only 99 (about 0.7%) died simply because of the new crown, and more than 3,000 (about 24.7%) died of the new crown or the judgment of whether it was an underlying disease was unknown.

He said that although the data in New York is older, and the current Omicron strain is weaker and the fatality rate is low, the proportion of chronic patients is still relevant. In Taiwan, for example, as of the end of May this year, up to 74% of new crown deaths had a chronic history.

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Data on the proportion of new crown deaths in New York in 2020 with chronic medical history (Source: Tu Xingzhe)
Data on the proportion of new crown deaths in New York in 2020 with chronic medical history (Source: Tu Xingzhe)

He said that after China’s liberalization, the epidemic has just begun, or it may enter the winter, and the number of deaths is higher, but what is the real death rate of the new crown? China should abandon “political epidemic prevention” and reflect truthfully in order to effectively grasp the prevention and control of the epidemic, he said, in addition to the funeral parlor processing volume, the actual data of the final new crown death rate can also be seen from the one-year super-mortality rate, that is, an increase from China’s 10.14 million deaths in 2021.

A blog called “Fengyun Society Chen Jing” estimated that according to the business volume reflected by funeral homes in Hebei, Beijing, and other places, it has risen by about four times in recent days, that is, three times more than the number of super-deaths, if the peak death rate is calculated for two weeks, the most serious super-death rate of this wave may reach 11.5%, so if the annual super-death rate is 10-15% to convert, this year’s population of deaths due to the new crown may increase by 1 million to 1.5 million people compared with last year’s normal deaths. Of course, if the peak death rate drops to a week, the death toll can fall below 750,000.

Eric Feigl-Ding, a well-known Chinese epidemiologist and public health expert in the United States, recently predicted that 60% of China’s population, or 840 million people, may be infected in the next three months. Based on the 0.13% fatality rate of the Omicron strain, the death toll is probably in the millions.

Ding Liang believes that the CCP’s latest epidemic control goal is “should be infected, should die, peak as soon as possible, and resume production as soon as possible.” In

response to the CCP’s entry into the stage of “rapid peaking”, it has triggered some experts to put forward calls for “flattening infection”. In this regard, Taiwan expert Tu Xingzhe said that China’s rapid peak may not be a good phenomenon, because if the number of infections, especially the number of moderate and severe patients, surges, may paralyze the medical system in a short period of time so that the otherwise treatable moderate and severe patients die due to insufficient medical care, it will increase the number of needless deaths.

According to official data released at the beginning of the year, the number of intensive care (ICU) beds in China has increased from 4 to 10 per 100,000 people in three years, bringing the total to 138,000, with more than 80,000 intensive care physicians and 220,000 nurses. Therefore, if potentially severe patients can be protected, the peak of infection can be leveled, and the medical capacity will not be overloaded, or the number of deaths may also be reduced.

After China’s lockdown was lifted, the number of infections soared, with some hospitals saying that walkways were crowded with sick calls, morgues were filled with corpses, and even crematoriums were lined up. Beijing’s Eastern Suburbs Funeral Home said business was scheduled for Jan. 1 next year, but the official epidemic report said there had been only seven cases of illness and death in the past two weeks. Tu Xingzhe, a Taiwanese health expert, told the media that China’s mortality rate excluding underlying diseases is probably underestimated by at least 70%.

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