The U.S. and China are facing very different COVID winters

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The United States likely won’t experience another wave of COVID cases over the winter like those seen over the previous two years, Anthony Fauci said at his final press conference as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden on Tuesday.

The US health official, who has been celebrated for his 54 years of public service and reviled as the face of the country’s COVID-19 pandemic response, used the news conference to strongly encourage Americans to get vaccinated. and booster shots, citing a new study that showed that later boosters offered better protection against new variants.

“I don’t want to see anyone hospitalized, and I don’t want to see anyone die from COVID. Whether you’re a far-right Republican or a far-left Democrat, I don’t care,” Fauci said at the start of the conference, reflecting on his time as chief medical adviser and addressing his policies on masks and vaccines that have become partisan totem poles. In U.S.A

case contrast

Press conference was periodically thrown into chaos as reporters yelled questions at Fauci about the origin of COVID-19, which became a contentious issue in the US after former US President Donald Trump suggested where the virus originated in a lab in china.

Today China, where there is far less fanfare and far fewer press conferences about COVID controls, is facing a very different winter.

COVID-19 cases in China are reaching levels not seen since April 2021, and authorities are seeking to shut down large parts of the country once again to prevent further cases from spreading under their zero-COVID policy.

china reported 28,000 new cases of COVID on Tuesday due to outbreaks in Beijing, the southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou and the southwestern city of Chongqing. While this is far less than the 42,200 cases reported in the US each day by the CDC last week, analysts say the large number of cases could jeopardize China’s zero-COVID lockdown policy.

Macquarie’s chief China economist Larry Hu said in a report on Tuesday that “China may already be past the point of no return, as it is unlikely to achieve zero covid again without another Shanghai-style strict lockdown.” “.

Discontent in China over COVID-19 lockdowns

China has been an outlier to other developed countries in its continued use of lockdowns as the main method of disease control. The country’s zero-COVID policy has battered its economy for the past two years, disrupting global supply chains and threatening GDP growth.

The recent lockdowns have not only negatively affected 20% of China’s economy in terms of GDP, levels not seen since April’s peak of 21.2%, according to Nomura’s chief China economist Ting Lu. it has also sparked rare protests from people demanding their freedom.

“What politicians could do now is slow the spread of the virus, i.e. flatten the curve, by tightening COVID controls for the time being,” Hu advised in Tuesday’s Macquarie report. Hu said that Beijing has shown signs that it may be willing to reopen in the next six to nine months, but added that “the road to reopening will involve a lot of back and forth.”

According to Nomura’s estimates, around 412 million people in China are affected by lockdown measures after local officials tightened restrictions on business and social activities this month due to rising cases. However, analysts note that it is becoming more difficult to track the data as China implements COVID restrictions without public communication.

“It is becoming increasingly difficult to monitor the actual situation of China’s local lockdowns due to the latest NHC reclassification of risk areas and the practice of implementing lockdowns without making any public announcement,” the report says.

Authorities in China have also implemented more frequent virus testing in cities, ordered restaurants to suspend in-store dining and ordered shopping malls to close. Beijing postponed its technology-focused Zhongguancun Forum, which was scheduled to start this week.

Epidemic control workers seen wearing protective clothing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the Central Business District on November 23, 2022 in Beijing, China.

Fake images of Kevin Frayer

United States vs. China

Anthony Fauci said last week about him Health Care Conversations radio show that the US was reaching a difficult COVID crossroads as the cold winter months approach and evasive immune variants of Omicron emerge.

An average of 300 Americans a day are still dying from COVID-19, and federal health officials said at a news conference Tuesday that nearly all COVID deaths are now preventable through vaccination and treatment.

Federal officials said they were looking at Omicron’s new BQ.1 and XBB sub-variants. While XBB has gained a significant foothold in countries like Bangladesh and Singapore and has been rated as one of the most immunoevasive variants to date, BQ.1 is rapidly growing as the most dominant strain in the US, surpassing the variant BA.5 last week. , according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Nowcast.

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