Beijing January 15 2023: China said almost 60,000 people died at medical institutions from Covid-related causes since early December, offering some clues on the cost of an abrupt and ill-prepared shift of its virus policy.
A total of 59,938 deaths were reported at hospitals across the country between Dec. 8 and Jan. 12 linked to Covid-19, according to the National Health Commission on Saturday. Of these, 5,503 died from respiratory failure and 54,435 died from other diseases but were infected with Covid.
China Finds No New Covid Variants But Mutation Threat Lingers
The average age of those who died was 80.3 years and more than 90% of them had other diseases including cardiovascular diseases, advanced tumors and metabolic diseases, the commission said. The number of deaths of the elderly is relatively high because of increased incidence of respiratory diseases and aggravation of cardiovascular diseases in the winters among older people, said Jiao Yahui, an official at the commission. That, coupled with Covid infections, aggravated the situation, Jiao said.
It has become increasingly difficult to gauge the impact of Covid in China as authorities stopped the frequent release of data and recently adopted a narrower definition of a Covid fatality — only those who die from respiratory failure caused by the virus are counted.
Reports of surging deaths across a swathe of the country on social media suggest the actual number of those who died from the infection may be much higher than the official count.