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China COVID deaths probably running above 5,000 per day – UK research firm Airfinity

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People wearing face masks commute in a subway station during morning rush hour, following the coronavirus disease ( COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
Pic Source: People wearing face masks commute in a subway station during morning rush hour, following the coronavirus disease ( COVID-19) outbreak, in Beijing, China January 20, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang
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BEIJING (Reuters):

More than 5,000 people are probably dying each day from COVID-19 in China, health data firm Airfinity estimated, offering a dramatic contrast to official data from Beijing on the country’s current outbreak.

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The UK-based firm said it had used modelling based on regional Chinese data to produce figures that also put current daily infections in the country at above a million.

Its estimates were “in stark contrast to the official data which is reporting 1,800 cases and only seven official deaths over the past week,” it said in a statement.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC) did not immediately respond to a request from Reuters for comment. On Thursday it reported no new COVID-19 deaths and 2,966 new local symptomatic cases for Dec. 21.

A senior World Health Organization official said on Wednesday that China might be struggling to keep a tally of COVID infections as it experiences a big spike in cases.

An abrupt U-turn by China on its previous zero-COVID policy following protests has raised global concerns of widespread infections among a vulnerable, undervaccinated population. It has stopped mass testing and no longer reports asymptomatic cases.

Airfinity said its mortality risk analysis suggested between 1.3 to 2.1 million people could die in China’s current COVID outbreak. Analyses by other modelling groups have also predicted as many as 2.1 million deaths.

Airfinity estimates the wave could have two peaks at 3.7 million a day in mid-January in regions where cases are currently rising and 4.2 million a day in March in other provinces.

Cases were currently rising fastest in Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong, said the firm.

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