According to a recent prediction from a US-based agency, if China decides to stick with its intention to loosen the strict coronavirus controls, more than a million Covid deaths might occur by 2023.
By April 1, when the number of Covid cases reaches their height, China may have recorded 322,000 fatalities, according to the Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME).
IHME Director Christopher Murray remarked on Friday when the IHME estimates were made public online, ‘Nobody believed they would stick to zero-COVID as long as they did.’
After enormous public protests in December, Beijing decided to loosen its severe Covid restrictions.
Ever since the curbs were lifted, China has been experiencing a spike in infections, with fears that the virus could infect all of its 1.4 billion population during next month’s Lunar New Year holiday.
Moreover, it has not recorded any Covid deaths since lifting of the restrictions. The last official deaths were reported on December 3. Total pandemic fatalities stand at 5,235.
The IMHE believes that the emergence of highly-transmittable Omicron variants has rendered China’s zero-Covid policy ineffective and hence Beijing decided to lift the restrictions.