China Could Bring Down Potential Death Toll to Less Than 2 Lakh: Study

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HONG KONG — China could reduce the number of deaths to less than 200,000 if it implements public health measures to help slow the spread of Covid-19, increase vaccination rates and ensure adequate supplies of medicines, a new study has said.

The same study had predicted that if China abandons zero-Covid restrictions, as many as one and a half million people could die from Covid-19 over the next six months.

However, the study, posted on preprint service medRxiv (yet to be peer-reviewed) by researchers from the University of Macau and Harvard Medical School, also evaluated the “flatten the curve” strategy, reports South China Morning Post.

These are a range of milder, non-pharmaceutical mitigation measures that can reduce infection rates, according to the report.

The researchers said that without the “flatten the curve” strategy, more than 1.27 billion people would be infected within three months and 1.49 million people would die within half a year.

If, however, the “flatten the curve” strategy was implemented, the number of deaths could be reduced by 37 per cent within one year, according to authors.

Moreover, in addition to the mitigation measures, if 90 per cent of the population received three doses of mRNA vaccines, and 75 per cent of those infected with Covid-19 were prescribed Paxlovid (antiviral treatment), the projected number of deaths was 190,000.

China gave conditional approval for Paxlovid in February, making it the first oral antiviral treatment available in the country.

However, mRNA vaccines are not available in the country.

Last week, China said it would allow German nationals in the country to receive the BioNTech vaccine.

Nearly 23.8 million people over the age of 60 in China are yet to receive their first shot of Covid-19 vaccine as the country goes through a massive surge in infections, the media reported on Monday.

Meanwhile, China may reopen borders on January 8 and abandon quarantine after it downgrades its treatment of Covid-19. — IANS

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