The Chinese regime abruptly abandoned a zero-COVID policy on December 7. Before the reopening, China had one of the toughest anti-Covid measures in the world.

One of the reasons for relaxation was the effects of unprecedented widespread protests across the country due to the brutal enforcement of the zero-COVID policy. 

Due to the sudden change, the Chinese people and the health system were not prepared for the wave of COVID infections that kicked off in China.

A Shanghai woman complained about the Chinese government. She told Nikkei, “The policy change came without warning, leaving us unprepared.” 

Voice of America reported that cities across China have struggled with a tsunami of COVID infection. It has emptied pharmacy shelves, filled hospitals and clinics, and caused backlogs at crematoriums and funeral homes.

It’s difficult to confirm how difficult the situation is as the Chinese communist regime strictly controls information coming out of the country. However, we can see a clearer picture by cross-referencing with other official reports.

At a news conference, a Zhejiang official reported that, in the previous week, traffic at fever clinics had increased to 14 times the average rate.

On average, daily requests to the emergency center in the Zhejiang province’s capital of Hangzhou have recently increased more than three times compared to last year’s level.

Dongguan, a city in Guangdong province, announced on December 23 that it has been recording 250,000 to 300,000 new infections daily. 

On the same day, a news outlet operated by the ruling Communist Party in Qingdao reported that the city was recording between 490,000 and 530,000 new COVID cases daily.

Meanwhile, in Shanghai, more than 40,000 patients get fevers.

In addition, Bloomberg cited data from China’s National Health Commission internal meeting on December 21. China’s top health authority said that about 37 million people in China might have contracted the coronavirus on December 20, as a tsunami of infections hit multiple regions across the country. 

At the meeting, it was reported that as many as 248 million Chinese people might have been infected with COVID since the beginning of December.

However, some health officials warned that the worst is yet to come while many signs that local medical resources are under stress.

In Dongguan, the city of 10.5 million reported up to 300,000 new infections per day, and the rate was “accelerating faster and faster.”

The city’s health bureau said on December 23, “Many medical resources and personnel are enduring severe challenges and huge pressure with no historical precedent.” 

On the same day, a senior health official in Hainan said that the province would reach peak infections “very soon.” 

According to Reuters, the Zhejiang authority said in a statement, “the infection peak is estimated to arrive earlier in Zhejiang and to enter a period of elevated levels around New Year’s Day, during which the daily new infection number will be as high as 2 million.” 

Jiangxi province announced on its social media that around 36 million people would be infected by March, equivalent to 80% of its population.

Meanwhile, many videos have been emerging on social media appearing to show crowded hospitals across China, especially in Beijing, the center of the pandemic this time.

Beijing-based doctor Howard Bernstein has worked in emergency medicine for over three decades. However, Bernstein has never experienced anything like the current situation. 

Bernstein said at the end of his shift at the privately owned Beijing United Family Hospital, “The hospital is just overwhelmed from top to bottom.” 

The situation is so bad that provincial hospitals in China have sent hundreds of medical workers to help Beijing. 

Shandong and neighboring Jiangsu province had sent at least 500 doctors and nurses to Beijing hospitals. Shandong and Hunan provinces would send 178 intensive care specialists.

The South China Morning Post learned that even though hospitals are understaffed due to most workers being infected with the virus, they must send their resources to help the capital city.

With China’s top medical resource, Beijing still seeks external help, showing how fragile its healthcare system is amid an unprecedented coronavirus wave.

Medical staff across China said that because COVID and sickness levels amongst staff have been exceptionally high, hospital resources are being hit hard. 

One nurse working in the western city of Xi’an reported that 45 out of 51 nurses in her department and every staff member in the emergency department had been infected recently. 

The Financial Times reported that provincial authorities across China had requisitioned COVID medical supplies to deal with coronavirus infections in their regions. Multiple medical firms’ production now focuses on providing the regime’s demand rather than fulfilling private orders.

Yet, overcrowded places are not only hospitals but also crematoriums.

However, it is difficult to know the real number of deaths in China. Because this communist government always censors content that is deemed politically sensitive.

Besides, China also changed the definition of COVID-related deaths, tallying only those who die of COVID-caused pneumonia or respiratory failure. 

The BBC reported that the counting method does not fit with WHO guidance. Therefore, the figure is way below than in other countries.

This move has raised eyebrows among medical experts around the world.

However, crowds at crematoriums appear across China.

One Beijinger who cremated his father described the scene at that time as “corpses all over the field”.

Chinese internet users posted online many videos showing outside the Beijing crematorium area a long line of cars stuck on December 20.

These cars transporting the deceased will have to wait in line until all the corpses inside are burned before they can bring their loved ones in for the next round.

This video shows a funeral home in Tianjin. Family members of the deceased wait in a long line to receive the ashes. In the video, many urns are placed on a wooden table and wrapped in red cloth.

In Chongqing City, a funeral home was full of bodies.

In Lanzhou, Gansu, many are covered with white cloth and placed in up to four layers.

Circulated videos show another funeral home in Changzhou City, Jiangsu Province, full of corpses.

The Hankou funeral home in Wuhan, Hubei, is so overcrowded that it doesn’t allow anyone to enter.

The source could not find out if the cause of death is COVID.

Reuters cited a research note from Capital Economics saying, “The authorities are making almost no efforts now to slow the spread of infections and, with the migration ahead of Lunar New Year getting started, any parts of the country not currently in a major COVID wave will be soon.”

The research added, “China is entering the most dangerous weeks of the pandemic.”

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