New COVID-19 Wave Looms: Chinese Authorities Race To Release Vaccines To Tackle XBB Variants Surge, Predicted To Affect 65 Million Weekly: Report
China is quickly distributing vaccines to curb a new wave of COVID-19, which is forecasted to reach its peak in June.
The new XBB variants of the virus are evolving to overcome the immunity developed after China departed from its "zero covid" policy last year.
The new wave caused by XBB variants is projected to infect up to 65 million people per week, reported The Washington Post.
Zhong Nanshan, a prominent Chinese epidemiologist, recently announced preliminary approval for two new vaccinations for the XBB omicron subvariants in a biotech symposium in Guangzhou, according to official media sources quoted by TWP.
The approved vaccines will be for XBB. 1.9.1, XBB. 1.5, and XBB. 1.16. Zhong further stated that three to four more vaccines will receive approval in the near future.
After China's abandonment of its zero-Covid programme last winter, this new outbreak may be the greatest wave of illnesses ever recorded, with up to 85 per cent of the population sick at the time in China.
China's officials downplay the severity of the current wave, but experts argue for a robust vaccination booster program and ample antiviral supply in hospitals to prevent a surge in mortality among the elderly population.
A Hong Kong-based epidemiologist from the University of School of Public Health predicts that the upcoming wave of infections will be less severe with fewer deaths, but warns that the impact on public health could still be significant. The expert believes that the number of infections could still be high, even if the severity and mortality rates are lower, as per the report.
The variations have increased the number of cases since last month, with Covid surpassing the flu as the most prevalent infectious disease over the final two weeks of April, according to the Beijing Centre for Disease Control and Prevention.
Health experts have reassured the public that reinfections of COVID-19 have shown milder symptoms and will not overload hospitals as in the past winter.
Recently, a university in Nanjing faced online complaints for enforcing dormitory quarantine for students testing positive. Some students opted for self-quarantine at school to avoid infecting their family members at home, reported TWP.
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