China sees more deaths as COVID "tsunami" takes hold
Deaths connected to the coronavirus are rising in China, according to multiple reports, but the country has been quiet about how many deaths are officially happening.
Why it matters: The increase in fatalities comes as China eased its COVID-19 rules amid widespread protests and outrage within the country.
Details: Local media in China reported the first batch of fatalities since the restrictions were lifted, per CBS News. The deaths included two former Chinese state media journalists.
- Multiple recent funeral attendees told the Associated Press and Reuters that their loved ones were passing away from the coronavirus.
Yes, but: China's official health authority hasn't reported any official COVID deaths since Dec. 3, according to Reuters. The latest fatality was reported in Beijing on Nov. 23.
Zoom in: Funeral homes and crematoriums have struggled to keep up with recent demand, scrambling to find workers and drivers who aren't sick from the Omicron variant, Reuters reports.
- "We've fewer cars and workers now," an unnamed staffer at Miyun Funeral Home told Reuters.
- It's unclear if the recent struggle is connected to the increase in COVID-19 deaths. But Reuters reported many hearses have been going to a crematorium designated for COVID deaths.
The big picture: China is seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases right now with 2,157 new symptomatic infections reported on Thursday, per NBC News.
- Last week, the Chinese government said it would stop reporting asymptomatic COVID cases because they would be difficult to track without mass testing, Axios reports. That change makes it difficult to track how far the virus is actually spreading.
- “This is not a spike, this is a tsunami,” said Jin Dong-Yan, a professor at the University of Hong Kong, told NBC News.
More from Axios:
China to stop reporting asymptomatic COVID cases
China battles rising COVID-19 cases after easing precautions