China’s most recent figures have revealed that weekly deaths related to COVID-19 in the country have fallen from 6,364 to 3,278.
Chinese state media has claimed that this is a sign that “China has stepped out of the current wave.”
On Saturday, February 4, 3,278 deaths related to COVID-19 were reported across 31 provinces and regions between January 27 and February 2. The figure includes 131 deaths from respiratory failure and 3,147 from underlying health problems combined with the infection of COVID-19, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) reported.
On December 21, 2022, shortly after relaxing the ‘zero-COVID’ policy, China narrowed its definition of what constitutes a death caused by COVID-19; a move said to have drastically reduced the number of ‘official’ COVID deaths in the country.
Now, only deaths caused by pneumonia and respiratory failure in patients who had the virus are classed as COVID deaths.
Deaths caused by other diseases such as cardiovascular diseases and heart attacks in patients are not classified as caused by COVID-19.
China CDC data reported 6,363 COVID-related deaths in China from January 20 to 26.
Regardless of what the country classifies as a ‘COVID-related death,’ this number is still significant. Before China ditched its ‘zero-COVID’ policy there had been a reported total of 5,241 COVID deaths in the country since the virus was first discovered in Wuhan in late 2019.
China’s classification of COVID deaths is at odds with what World Health Organization (WHO) advises.
Many countries around the world, under the advice of WHO, use “excess mortality” when judging the impact of the pandemic. Excess mortality is the difference in the number of deaths during a crisis compared to the number of deaths during ‘normal times.’
The method for counting COVID deaths in China is said to be one reason why they death count is so low, compared to other countries.
[Cover image via Nova News]
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