US asks China to share information on rapidly spreading COVID outbreak

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has asked the Chinese Communist Party administration to share information about the current COVID surge in China. He also reiterated that the United States is willing to provide assistance.

“For all countries, including China, to get people vaccinated, to have access to testing and treatment and, importantly, to what they’re going through,” Brinken said at a press conference on December 22. It’s very important to focus on sharing information with the world,” he said.

“This will affect not only China, but the whole world. So I hope it will happen,” he added.

China has officially reported only eight deaths this month, as of 22 December. The figure has drawn a high degree of skepticism by outside observers, and stands in stark contrast to the sight of crowded hospital wards and overwhelmed crematoriums in major cities across the country. China’s Internet is flooded. The administration has also stopped counting asymptomatic infections after easing “zero COVID” restrictions.

Over the course of the pandemic, the Chinese Communist Party has consistently understated infection and death figures as part of its practice of censoring developments that could tarnish its image.

Epoch Times photo
An ambulance driver drops a patient outside a clinic treating COVID-19 patients in Beijing on December 21, 2022. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus also asked China to share data on the worsening COVID outbreak in the country.

At a press conference on December 21, the director-general said the WHO was “extremely concerned about the changing situation in China, where reports of serious illnesses are increasing”. He asked the Chinese government to provide detailed information on the severity of the illness, hospitalizations and the need for intensive care.

Tedros also asked the administration to share data on the origins of the coronavirus that caused the COVID-19 pandemic.

He said there are still gaps that prevent us from fully understanding how the pandemic started, and added that without the necessary data, it would be difficult to prevent future outbreaks. , first emerged in Wuhan around November 2019.

“We continue to urge China to share data and conduct the research we have requested. It’s still under review,” he said.

offer to help

Chinese people are getting vaccines made in China, which many experts consider less effective than Western vaccines.

Blinken has renewed its offer to help China with a US vaccine. China has not yet asked for help, he added.

Earlier this week, State Department spokesman Ned Price said at a daily press conference: We stand ready to continue supporting people around the world, including China, with this and other of his COVID-related health support. ”

A forklift is used to transport Moderna vaccine against COVID-19 at the Taiwan Air Cargo Terminal in Taoyuan, Taiwan, June 18, 2021. (Ann Wang / File Photo / Reuters)

The Chinese government has not responded to Washington’s offer. Meanwhile, the German government declined to provide the BioNTech vaccine to the Chinese public, only allowing it to be shipped to the 20,000 German expatriates living in China.

Blinken also reiterated the US government’s concerns over the impact of the virus’ mutation and China’s COVID surge on the global economy.

“Anytime a virus is spreading or moving, there is a chance that a new variant will develop and that variant will spread further and that it can come and hit us or other countries,” said Blinken. said.

“And as we’ve seen, with China shutting down due to COVID, there’s a clear impact on the global economy,” he added, noting the severe supply chain disruption caused by the pandemic shutdown. You mentioned confusion.

Prediction of outbreaks

UK-based health research firm Airfinity said: Estimate More than 5,000 people die from COVID every day in China. The company’s report, released in late November, based on modeling from regional data in China, projected the death toll from the new COVID outbreak to be between 1.3 million and 2.1 million.

One in mid-January, when the area where cases are currently rising will reach 3.7 million daily infections, and the other in mid-March, when other provinces will reach 4.2 million daily infections.

On Dec. 6, Feng Zijian, former deputy director of the China Center for Disease Control, said in an online discussion hosted by Tsinghua University that most people in China will not be affected, no matter how the epidemic prevention and control policies are adjusted. will inevitably be infected once.

“Mathematical models calculate that when the first wave of large-scale infections peaks, the infection rate of the population reaches about 60%, then levels off gradually, eventually reaching 80-90% of the population. People will get infected,” he said.

Epoch Times photo
An ambulance driver drops a patient outside a fever clinic treating COVID-19 patients in Beijing, China, December 21, 2022. (Kevin Freyer/Getty Images)
Alex Wu

Alex Wu is a US-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights and international relations.