A new push by China to vaccinate the elderly has raised hopes of ending the country’s strict zero-COVID policy, but the world’s second-largest economy faces challenges and at least a year of hard work before the policy cannot end, the Associated Press reported.
A vaccination campaign will take months, and China also needs to boost hospital capacity and develop a long-term virus strategy, warn health experts and economists. They say the zero-COVID policy should remain in place until mid-2023, and possibly until 2024.
“China is not in a position at this time to move away from its ‘zero-COVID’ policy to a ‘living with COVID’ policy,” said Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics. “The health care capacity is very low.”
Chinese politics have received renewed attention this week after a weekend of protests in cities including Shanghai and Beijing over lockdowns that have kept many people at home for months.
See also: Protests in China are biggest threat to Communist Party rule since Tiananmen Square, says Kyle Bass
People say they don’t have reliable access to food and medicine, and there has been an outcry over the deaths of two children who were in quarantine after their parents said virus checks prevented them from receive medical care. A fire in the northwest city of Urumqi that has killed at least 10 people became another flashpoint last Friday after residents claimed people trying to escape were blocked by locked doors.
Anthony Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said over the weekend that China’s policy doesn’t make sense for public health and its local vaccines aren’t effective enough.
On Tuesday, International Monetary Fund Director Kristalina Georgieva called for a “recalibration” of the zero-COVID approach, “exactly because of the impact it has on both people and the economy. “.
Now read: China’s strict zero COVID policy isn’t worth the damage it’s doing to its economy
Separately on Wednesday, the ruling Communist Party pledged to “resolutely suppress infiltration and sabotage activities by hostile forces” following the biggest street protests in decades, the AP reported.
Read now: Protests against strict COVID-zero policy are sweeping China, but there is no sign of a national political movement yet
In the United States, known COVID cases are rising again, with the daily average rising to 42,451 on Tuesday, according to a New York Times tracker, up 76% from two weeks ago. Cases are rising in 28 states, plus Guam and Washington, DC, led by Missouri, where they are up 107% from two weeks ago.
Average daily hospitalizations are up 12% to 31,125, led by Louisiana, where it climbed 84% from two weeks ago, followed by California, where it rose 58%.
The daily average of deaths is up 2% to 285.
Coronavirus update: MarketWatch’s Daily Roundup organizes and reports all the latest developments each day of the week since the start of the coronavirus pandemic
Other COVID-19 news you should know:
• Chinese authorities are easing tough and sweeping lockdowns that had been imposed on a city where many iPhones are made, but Apple Inc. AAPL,
still not out of the woods, writes Emily Bary of MarketWatch. Chinese authorities reportedly ended sweeping lockdowns in the city of Zhengzhou on Tuesday night, where Foxconn HNHPF,
operates a factory that makes iPhones, according to Bloomberg News and others. But analysts see lingering question marks for Apple, which warned earlier in November that it expected China’s COVID-19 restrictions and resulting production issues to affect iPhone shipments. during the vacation term.
• Twitter will no longer enforce its policy against misinformation about COVID-19, raising concerns among public health experts and social media researchers that the change could have serious consequences if it discourages vaccination and others efforts to combat the still-spreading virus, the AP reported. “Effective November 23, 2022, Twitter no longer enforces the COVID-19 Misleading Information Policy,” the company said in an update to its rules posted Monday. On Tuesday, some Twitter accounts were testing the new boundaries and celebrating the platform’s hands-off approach, which comes after Elon Musk took over Twitter. Health experts responded with dismay but urged people to fight back.
• A naturopathic doctor who sold fake COVID-19 vaccination treatments and fraudulent vaccination cards during the height of the coronavirus pandemic was sentenced in California on Tuesday to nearly three years in prison, federal prosecutors said. , reported the AP. Juli A. Mazi pleaded guilty last April in federal court in San Francisco to one count of wire fraud and one count of health-related misrepresentation.
Here’s what the numbers say:
The global tally of confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 642.9 million on Monday, while the death toll topped 6.63 million, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University.
The United States leads the world with 98.7 million cases and 1,079,888 deaths.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tracker shows that 228.4 million people living in the United States, or 68.8% of the total population, are fully immunized, meaning they have received their first shots.
So far, only 37.6 million Americans have had the updated COVID booster that targets the original virus and omicron variants, or 12.1% of the overall population.
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