China's top health authorities claimed Wednesday that close to 37 million people might have contracted COVID-19 in the country in a single day this week, Bloomberg reported.
The Chinese Communist Party's National Health Commission also said during the internal meeting that 248 million people – nearly 18% of the population — likely contracted the virus in the first 20 days of December, sources confirmed.
On Thursday, Al-Jazeera cited Airfinity in estimating that China is currently averaging more than 5,000 COVID-related deaths per day, with a mortality risk analysis indicating that upwards of 2.1 million people could die due to the outbreak.
Although China's numbers contradict Airfinity, many in the international community have paid attention to the health data firm. For example, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken called for the country's "transparency" on Friday in a phone call with its foreign ministry.
It's crucial "all countries, including China ... focus on people getting vaccinated, making testing and treatment available, and importantly, sharing information with the world about what they're experiencing," Blinken told Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, further emphasizing that "it has implications not just for China, but for the entire world."
Bloomberg noted that MetroDataTech's Chen Qin forecasts that China's current COVID wave will peak between mid-December and late January in most cities and start falling precipitously after that.
According to his model, the surge is already responsible for millions of infections daily. It comes despite China's official vaccination rate exceeding 90%, with the rate for adults who have had booster shots dropping to 57.9%.
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