As it enters the first full winter season since lifting Covid-19 restrictions, China is seeing an increase in respiratory illness cases. According to China’s National Influenza Centre, the detection rate of influenza virus has been increasing in both southern and northern provinces, with the A (H3N2) subtype being the most common, followed by B (Victoria). According to the Global Times, a parent who brought her sick child to the Beijing Children’s Hospital reported that the hospital was overcrowded with over 300 patients and that she had to wait four hours to see a doctor.
Since mid-October, respiratory diseases have increased nationwide, according to China’s National Health Commission. The spike caught people’s attention around the world last week when the World Health Organization requested additional data from China, citing a study by the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases on pediatric pneumonia cases that went undetected. In a statement issued on November 24, the Chinese government claimed that “no unusual or novel pathogens other than the seasonal ones” had been found.
A World Health Organization official, however, told Reuters that the outbreak China is currently experiencing is not as bad as it was prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, stressing that no novel or uncommon pathogens had been discovered in the most recent cases.
NEW: Mystery pneumonia is sweeping over China causing people to overwhelm hospitals.
Just in time for the 2024 election.
Chinese officials are now encouraging people to wear masks, social distance and stay at home.
China’s health ministry is downplaying the sickness, saying… pic.twitter.com/TzDVH2XiqO
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In a video posted on X (formerly Twitter) a hospital in China overflowing with patients, people can be seen standing in long queues with their faces covered with masks to get treated.
According to an Al Jazeera report, one major hospital in Beijing has reported that on average every day, they are seeing about 1,200 patients enter their emergency room.
The health officials urged the local authorities on November 26 to increase the number of fever clinics, as hospitals are warning of long waits in northern areas like Beijing and Liaoning province where cases among children appear to be especially high.
As hospitals struggles to suffice with beds, some patients wait in the reception area for long hours.