Saturday, June 3, 2023

China’s former top COVID official admits he can’t rule out lab leak theory; China Might Have 65 Million COVID Cases a Week by June. How Worried Should the World Be? - and other C-Virus related stories

China’s former top COVID official admits he can’t rule out lab leak theory:
The top Chinese official who led Beijing’s COVID-19 response admits he can’t rule out that the deadly virus leaked from a lab.
“You can always suspect anything. That’s science,” Dr. George Fu Gao, who was China’s equivalent of Dr. Anthony Fauci, told the BBC when asked about the ongoing theory about his own nation’s scientists.
“Don’t rule out anything,” he told the podcast “Fever: The Hunt for Covid’s Origin.”
The global pandemic has killed 7 million people globally, according to the World Health Organization.
The scientist’s admission, no matter how vague, is stunning given how forcefully Beijing has always denied the possibility that researchers at the now-notorious Wuhan Institute of Virology may have leaked the virus while working on similar bat diseases.
At the time, China called it “a lie created by anti-China forces,” even blaming the US for its origins.
In fact, the Chinese Communist Party took the theory seriously, Gao admitted for the first time.
“The government organized something” to investigate, he said. “That lab was double-checked by the experts in the field.” --->READ MORE HERE
China Might Have 65 Million COVID Cases a Week by June. How Worried Should the World Be?
Last week when a Chinese senior health adviser projected 65 million COVID-19 cases per week in China by June, some health experts sounded the alarm.
China has been facing a new COVID-19 wave fueled by the XBB variant since April. Data from Zhong Nanshan—a respiratory disease doctor who was among the first to confirm COVID-19’s easy transmissibility—provided a rare insight into how the disease could possibly be spreading in China almost six months after Beijing abruptly ended its draconian zero-COVID strategy.
Since pivoting to “living with the virus” policy from early December, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention stopped updating weekly infections. But the sudden relaxation of anti-epidemic protocols also led to an estimated 37 million new infections a day weeks later. By January, experts said they believed almost 80% of China’s 1.4 billion population had already been infected in this first wave.
More from TIME
For the second wave since April, Zhong’s modeling revealed that the XBB variant is expected to cause 40 million infections weekly by May, going up to 65 million in June. This goes against the grain of Chinese health officials’ estimate that the wave had peaked in April. In Beijing, the number of new infections recorded between May 15 and 21 grew four times in four weeks.
While Zhong said vaccines targeting this specific variant will be rolled out soon, the projection of new COVID-19 infections nonetheless frazzled markets. China’s collective immunity has always been in question: a refusal to use foreign-sourced mRNA vaccines meant the public got inoculated against COVID-19 with a jab that proved less effective in preventing infection during early clinical trials, say researchers, and the stringent virus containment protocols restricted the possibility of developing natural immunity. --->READ MORE HERE
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