Hearses line up at Beijing crematorium even as China reports no new Covid deaths

Blood clots, heart problems and sepsis – an extreme body reaction to infection – have caused countless deaths in Covid patients around the world.

“It doesn’t make sense to have this kind of March 2020 mentality where only Covid pneumonia can kill you, when we know that in the post-vaccination era, there are all kinds of medical complications,” Mazer said.

The death toll could rise sharply in the near future, with the state-run Global Times quoting a top Chinese respiratory expert predicting a spike in severe cases in Beijing in the coming weeks.

“We need to act quickly and prepare fever clinics, emergency resources and serious treatment,” Wang Guangfa, a respiratory specialist at Peking University First Hospital, told the newspaper.

Serious cases rose by 53 across China on Tuesday, up from a rise of 23 the previous day. China does not provide absolute numbers of serious cases.

Wang expects the Covid wave to peak in late January, with life likely to return to normal by late February or early March.

The NHC also played down concerns raised by the United States and some epidemiologists about the possibility of the virus mutating, saying the likelihood of new strains that are more pathogenic is low.

Paul Tambyah, President of the Asia-Pacific Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases, supported this view.

“I don’t think this is a threat to the world,” he said. “Chances are that the virus will behave like any other human virus and adapt to the environment in which it circulates, becoming more transmissible and less virulent.”

Several top scientists and advisers to the World Health Organization told Reuters that a potentially devastating wave coming to China means it may be too soon to declare the end of the global emergency phase of the COVID pandemic.

The United States said on Tuesday it was ready to help China with its outbreak, warning that an uncontrolled spread in the world’s second-largest economy could hurt global growth.

A major near-term concern for economists is the impact an increase in infections could have on factory production and logistics as workers and truck drivers fall ill.

The World Bank on Tuesday cut China’s growth outlook for this year and next, citing the sharp easing of Covid measures among other factors.

Some local governments continue to relax the rules.

Staff of the Communist Party and government institutions or businesses in the southwestern city of Chongqing who have mild Covid symptoms can go to work if they wear a mask, the state-run China Daily reported.

Other Chinese media reported similar moves in several cities.

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