By: Vaishnavi Peyyety, Red & Black Current Events Writer
JAN. 15 — A recent surge of COVID-19 has impacted various Chinese cities and communities drastically. This wave of COVID-19 infections is a result of the dismantling of stringent pandemic restrictions. After almost two years of strict COVID-19 precautions, China has dissolved its zero-COVID approach, sparking uproar among citizens. This three-year anti-virus policy required frequent testing, travel restrictions and mass lockdowns. At first, because of the strict virus policies, the population of China did not witness mass deaths to the gravity of those seen in many Western nations. The Communist Party used this to demonstrate the effectiveness of its restrictions.
“many families are waiting for answers as to when they can perform funeral rituals for their loved ones.”
Satellite Images display Chinese funeral homes are becoming overwhelmed from COVID-19 deaths. (Photo Courtesy Maxar)
Last month, Chinese health officials believed the number of patients in need of emergency treatment and the number of patients at fever clinics testing positive for COVID-19 were declining. However, the number of severe cases was at its peak with mostly elderly patients. In response, the supply of drugs and medical equipment in rural areas was strengthened. After lifting these rules, people have begun traveling around the country which may coincide with the explosive surge of COVID-19. Satellite images of crematoriums and funeral homes show extreme crowding. A funeral home on the outskirts of Beijing has constructed a brand-new parking lot to accommodate the volume of people coming in. Additionally, images taken in Kunming, Nanjing, Chengdu, Tangshan and Huzhou reveal many vehicles waiting outside of funeral homes. In Beijing, the staff working in makeshift facilities that store the deceased feel overworked. Moreover, many families are waiting for answers as to when they can perform funeral rituals for their loved ones.
Interestingly, China has only reported 37 deaths since they eased restrictions on Dec. 7. However, the reports of overcrowded hospitals and funeral homes has led the World Health Organization and U.S. to believe that China is under-representing the severity of the current outbreak. Global health officials are pushing Beijing to share more data about the current surge of COVID.
“China has only reported 37 deaths since they eased restrictions on Dec. 7... the World Health Organization and U.S. to believe that China is under-representing the severity of the current outbreak.”
Residents in Beijing wearing face masks in public. (Photo Courtesy Mark Schiefelbein from Associated Press)