Health

doubts about the 48 “official” deaths – Corriere.it

from Guido Santevecchi

The cases of Covid in Shanghai date back: the city has been in lockdown indefinitely since March 28. But until Easter, the authorities had reported zero deaths. Doubts about the Chinese count

The cases of Covid-19 in Shanghai date back (23,370 today) e the end of the lockdown moves away again. From a biological point of view, the sub-variant Omicron BA.2 that attacked Shanghai and pushed it into lockdown not different from that which circulates in the rest of the world. In our cities, as in the Chinese megalopolis, asymptomatic cases prevail. The trend of the wave is also similar: a surge in infections, then a stabilization of the numbers and finally a descent without a curve. For, if you look at the numbers, Shanghai and China are facing a different pandemic from what the rest of the world has decided to manage without more blocks and closures. The wave in Shanghai began on March 1 and runs through April 17when the infections had exceeded 350 thousand, the authorities had not found any deaths, only a dozen patients in critical condition.

For days, however, rumors have been circulating on social media about dozens of deaths caused by Covid-19 in geriatric hospitals: detailed testimonials have been gathered from the Wall Street Journal and from the BBC. But the political officials were silent. Few symptomatic infections, no deaths. Xi Jinping who asked to minimize the impact of Covid-19 on the economic recovery. Yet, after ruling out the possibility of stopping Shanghai, the financial and commercial heart of China, on March 28 the authorities decided to lockdown.

The Shanghai lockdown was supposed to last eight days in all, but has been going on indefinitely for almost a month. The lack of deaths and the very high percentage of asymptomatics have fueled the doubts of the Shanghai people about an extreme health strategy: 26 million of citizens locked up at home, shortages in the supply of basic necessities, conditions of a hospital in quarantine centers. Videos of unprecedented disputes for Shanghai were circulated on social networks.

Perhaps to convince people of the danger of the viral situation, on April 18 the Shanghai Health Commission announced the first deaths: three sick people between 89 and 91 years old who suffered from serious previous diseases. From 18 April the death toll has reached 48, always described as patients between 65 and 101 years and with chronic diseases on which Covid-19 would have grafted. So, from 1 March when the first infections of this wave were recorded (32) to today, when the total number of positives identified rose to 466,000, the deaths are only 48. To make a comparison, 9,195 cases and 36 deaths were counted yesterday in Lombardy.

THE numbers of the pandemic in China are controversial: for the first two years the authorities have only symptomatic cases were surveyed. In this new wave they have decided to communicate also the asymptomatic ones, which are about 95% of the total. As for the deaths, from 2020 to early 2022 China had counted 4,600: 3 deaths per million inhabitants; the United States 970,000 deaths: 2,900 per million citizens. For months, the Beijing government has been touting the superiority of the Zero Tolerance control model over Western chaos. After the Wuhan disaster (where almost all 4,600 Chinese deaths were recorded between January and the end of March 2020), only Hong Kong has been attacked by a lethal wave of this pandemic. it was probably the huge impression created by the example of Hong Kong that prompted the central government of China to impose the first lockdown in Shanghai on March 28 and to maintain it indefinitely. Among Hong Kong’s 7.2 million inhabitants, the February-March wave caused about 1.2 million infections and 9,000 deaths, the hospital system was overwhelmed.

Shanghai, the richest city in mainland China, boasts a development and a standard of living comparable to that of Hong Kong; the percentage of elderly and vaccinated in all age groups are also similar between the two cities, the types of vaccine administered are the same (those developed by the pharmaceutical industry in Beijing, which offer protection of a few percentage points below of the western ones). Is there such a pronounced difference in the Covid-19 lethality curve? In Hong Kong 9,000 dead; in Shanghai which has more than three times the inhabitants of only 48. A study just published by the scientific journal “The Lancet” https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(22)00484-6/fulltext found that from January 2020 until last November, 195 deaths from SARS-CoV-2 per 100,000 population units have been recorded on average worldwide (298 in the United States; 376 in Russia; 188 in Germany; 168 in Great Britain; 375 in Italy; 315 in Spain; 76 in Japan). There are differences in the death toll, as is known there is discussion about deaths from Covid and deaths for which Covid has been an additional factor. But anyway you count, the Chinese figure is surprising: 1 death in 100,000.

April 23, 2022 (change April 23, 2022 | 11:58)

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