China may see nearly a staggering 36,000 deaths a day during Lunar New Year holidays, data analytics company Airfinity has forecast.
The Lunar New Year festival began on January 7 and the holidays are set to begin on January 21.
According to reports, Airfinity has now added 11,000 more deaths a day to its December 29, 2022, estimates.
“We now expect to see one larger and more prolonged wave with infections reaching a higher peak,” according to Dr Matt Linley, Airfinity’s Analytics director.
“Our forecast estimates a significant burden on China’s healthcare system for the next fortnight and it is likely that many treatable patients could die due to overcrowded hospitals and lack of care,” Linley added.
Some provinces, such as Hubei and Henan, could see patient demand for intensive care beds being six times hospital capacity.
The nearly 60,000 Covid-related deaths China reported for the first five weeks of its current outbreak, the largest the world has ever seen, may underestimate the true toll by hundreds of thousands of fatalities, according to reports.
Meanwhile, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus asked the country for the sharing of further sequences and cooperation on understanding the virus origins.
China is in the grip of a major wave of the virus after abruptly lifting its zero-Covid restrictions in December last year, with some major cities estimating between 70 per cent and 90 per cent of their populations have been infected.
Chinese officials have provided information to the WHO on a range of topics, including outpatient clinics, hospitalisations, patients requiring emergency treatment and critical care, and hospital deaths related to Covid-19 infection.
The WHO is currently analysing the information, which covers early December 2022 to January 12, 2023, and allows for a “better understanding of the epidemiological situation and the impact of this wave in China”.