On December 21, medical personnel in Beijing, China, treated patients with Covid-19 in a fever clinic. — Kevin Frayer/Getty Pictures
The estimate that 37 million people in China contracted Covid-19 for the first time on Tuesday was one of the figures mentioned in both publications. That was in stark contrast to the 3,049 new illnesses that were officially recorded that day.
According to two persons with knowledge of the situation, Sun Yang, a deputy director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, gave the data to the officials during the meeting behind closed doors.
According to the Financial Times, Sun claimed that the rate of Covid’s spread in China was still increasing and that he believed that more than half of the people in Beijing and Sichuan were already infected.
The figures come after China unexpectedly decided to abandon its stringent zero-Covid policy, which had been in effect for over three years, at the beginning of December.
The numbers are in sharp contrast to the NHC’s publicly available statistics, which showed that in the first 20 days of December, there were only 62,592 symptomatic Covid cases.
It’s unclear how the NHC arrived at the figures quoted by Bloomberg and the Financial Times because China no longer formally counts all infections after officials closed down the country’s network of PCR testing booths and announced they would cease compiling information on asymptomatic cases.
Rapid antigen tests are now used by people in China to identify illnesses, but they are not required to disclose positive results.
To read our blog on “Your next COVID-19 shot might be a sniff away,” click here