China is not done with the virus. By the end of June, this country of 1.4 billion inhabitants could see its Covid-19 contaminations explode to 65 million cases per week by the end of June, reports NBC News in particular. According to Chinese expert in respiratory diseases Zhong Nanshan, the weekly number of contaminations reached 40 million per week in early June. Unpublished data since the sudden lifting of the drastic zero-Covid policy in December 2022 causing an unprecedented epidemic outbreak in the country. 250 million Chinese would then have been infected in twenty days, or more than 80 million people per week.
This new epidemic wave has been fueled since April by the recombinant variant XBB according to Time. Zhong Nanshan's estimates go against those of the government, according to which the peak of this new wave would have been reached at the end of April. According to Zhong Nanshan, new vaccines specifically targeting XBB subvariants could soon be approved in China.
A re-containment of the Chinese population does not seem to be on the agenda. As of last January, nearly 90% of people in Henan province had contracted the disease, or about 88.5 million people. Nationwide, 80 percent of the Chinese population had already been infected with the virus as of mid-January, Reuters quoted Wu Zunyou, chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as saying.
Now, China no longer provides weekly updates on the number of cases. Whatever happens, the data relating to the number of cases and especially the number of deaths reported by Beijing have always been disputed, with many experts considering that they were largely underestimated. At the height of the epidemic in January, China had reported nearly 60,000 deaths in a month. According to Airfinity, China would have actually recorded 20,000 deaths per day at that time.
More recently, a Chinese scientist had revived the debate on the origin of the virus. “You can always suspect anything. It's science. Nothing can be ruled out,” he replied when asked about the possibility of a leak from a laboratory in Wuhan.