China’s Covid crisis deepens as ‘bodies pile up in morgues’

China: Protesters clash with Covid enforcement officials in Jinan

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An expert has warned Covid deaths will likely amount to “millions” due to China’s current outbreak, which he has predicted may infect 10 percent of the entire world. Hospitals are reportedly becoming completely overwhelmed as China grapples with a severe wave of CoV-Sars-2 infections, which comes after the Chinese President rolled back on tough restrictions that had been in place for months. While every other country on Earth fully opened back up as Covid infection rates eased, Xi Jinping had still been pursuing a strict zero Covid policy until just under two weeks ago.

This left millions of residents locked down for long periods, triggering backlash and protests in one of the biggest tests the authoritarian leader Mr Jinping has faced during his time in control of the Chinese Communist Party. 

While Mr Jinping appeared to cave to dissenting voices and has eased these tight restrictive measures, this appeared to backfire as, within days, Covid cases are said to have skyrocketed. This has left hospitals “completely overwhelmed” already, with bodies reportedly piling up at morgues.

Now, China’s health authorities have admitted it is not unimaginable that 800 million people – 60 percent of the Chinese population and 10 percent of the entire Earth – could contract the virus in the coming months.

Leading epidemiologist Dr Eric Feigl-Ding tweeted: “THERMONUCLEAR BAD—Hospitals completely overwhelmed in China ever since restrictions dropped. Epidemiologist estimate >60 percent of China and 10 percent of Earth’s population likely infected over next 90 days. Deaths likely in the millions—plural. This is just the start.”


But this epidemioligst is not the only one to have made this horror precision. Health data analysts Airfinity has estimated that China could see a shocking 1.3 to 2.1 million deaths between now and the end of March.

However, while the forecast from some experts is bleak, the nation has only officially recorded just two deaths since reopening. But several reports claim that the figure is actually much higher.

For instance, workers at the Beijing Dongjiao Funeral Parlour who are tasked with handling Covid deaths have said they have been becoming overwhelmed with bodies in recent days. 

Epidemiologist Wu Zunyou, a top Chinese health official, has said that he suspectes the current spike in infections continue until mid-January, warning that a second wave would strike later in the month due to mass travel around the week-long Lunar New Year celebrations, which start on January 21. 

Dr Wu added that a third surge in cases would hit the nation in late February and will run until mid-March as people go back to work after the holiday. But he told a conference that vaccinations in the country offer a certain degree of protection against the spikes and have kept the number of severe cases limited. 

China claims that over 90 percent of its population has been fully vaccinated. But under half of its citizens over the age of 80 have received three vaccine doses. This could be a concern as older age is directly linked to severe Covid symptoms.

Despite reports that an explosive outbreak is devastating the country, official figures from Sunday only showed a fairly low number of new daily cases (2,097). But there are suspicions that they are not an accurate reflection of the true number of cases due to a recent reduction in Covid testing.

On the whole, it is accepted that accurate data on the Covid wave is almost impossible to find, meaning it is unknown how many people currently have it, or how many people have died because of the virus.

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Yanzhong Huang, a global health specialist at the Council on Foreign Relations, a US think tank, told the Telegraph that  “the (official) number is clearly an undercount of Covid deaths”, warning that the undercount could be “driven by efforts to avoid mass panic over the surge of Covid deaths”.

According to China’s Global Times, multiple major city hospitals have been scrambling to secure more ventilators and other emergency equipment. The report quoted experts warning of major concerns about staffing levels, especially intensive care nurses.

People’s Daily has reported that Guangzhou, a megacity with a population of 15 million people, has ramped up the number of fever clinics to allow for up to 110,000 patients a day, up from 40,000. And it is hoping to boost the number of ICU beds from 455 to 1,385 by the end of Tuesday. 

Meanwhile, news agency Reuters has reported that Beijing has set up a designated  Covid crematorium which saw an extensive line of hearses and workers in hazmat suits carrying the dead inside over the weekend, but was reportedly heavily guarded on Tuesday. Reuters could also not immediately confirm whether the dead being taken to this site were Covid fatalities. 

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