Chinese officials are reporting that almost 13,000 COVID-19-related deaths occurred between January 13-19. This does not include the approximate 60,000 COVID-19 hospital deaths reported as of January 12, which was almost a month after the country lifted its zero-COVID-19 policy.
Over the weekend, Wu Zunyou, MD, PhD, adjunct professor of Epidemiology in UCLA Fielding Schools of Public Health, is the chief epidemiologist of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) claimed 80% of the country has been infected already on the Weibo social media platform.
This is the backdrop as China begins its celebration for the Lunar New Year. People will be traveling and gathering with family and friends during this time.
Chinese investigators are testing a “universal” vaccine against COVID-19 variants. They are targeting components of the S protein associated with both infectivity and immune escape
How the US Government Views the Situation in China
At the end of December, the US CDC announced a requirement for a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery for air passengers boarding flights to the United States originating from the People’s Republic of China (PRC) and the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
They implemented this rule to slow the spread of COVID-19 coming into the country.
Back on January 5, the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) and the Society of Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) made a joint statement about this policy.
“The US government’s new policy of requiring pre-flight COVID-19 testing for all travelers from China will likely have limited impact on transmission and will not provide the necessary data to fully assess the increasing number of cases globally. In addition, the policy could unintentionally fuel anti-Asian bias and xenophobia. To improve surveillance and obtain more useful data, the Administration should consider expanding broader testing strategies that are not defined by a narrow geographic scope. However, testing alone is unlikely to prevent transmission of the virus in the United States,” the statement read.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Biden Administration and governors across the country should also be prepared to strengthen mitigation measures as necessary if the situation continues to worsen. In addition, it is critical that the Biden Administration continue its efforts to improve our diplomatic communications with China to ensure transparency regarding COVID-19 infection data,” they said.
Meanwhile incidence rates here in the United States remind us that COVID-19 has not disappeared. As of this past Friday afternoon, the CDC reported the following:
332,212 weekly cases
3953 weekly total of deaths
4720 new hospital admissions (daily average)
15% of total population had updated booster
In their joint statement IDSA and SHEA reiterated the ongoing public health precautions of staying home when sick, getting vaccinated, and wearing masks when appropriate.