As China shifts to a “dynamic let it rip” policy (all credit to Bill Bishop for the term), the country faces not just a health crisis but an economic one as well.
On the health front, national case loads remain a guessing game in the absence of reliable official statistics and the abandonment of systemic testing. In terms of official estimates, Chinese officials believe approximately 250 million people (18% of the population) were infected with COVID-19 over the first 20 days of December. Yet in a reflection of the ongoing unreliability of China’s official data, the National Health Commission has reported just eight deaths from December 1-24. Elsewhere, outside experts have estimated as many as 9,000 people dying a day. And with hospitals swamped throughout the country, the wave is doubtlessly producing indirect morbidities as regular patient care is disrupted, as seen elsewhere in the world throughout the course of the pandemic.