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News > China

Critical COVID-19 Cases Decrease Debunks Fallacies About China

  • Patients get oxygen at a health center in China, 2023.

    Patients get oxygen at a health center in China, 2023. | Photo: Twitter/ @canal_salud

Published 16 January 2023

Currently, the majority of critical cases have an average age of 80 years and involve underlying health conditions.

COVID-19 critical cases are declining in China as the different aspects of the pandemic have been brought under control. This has been a consequence of the optimization of the epidemic response carried out since the beginning of December.


China Reports 60,000 COVID-19 Related Deaths

"The number of critical cases in hospitals peaked on Jan. 5, totaling at 128,000 on the day," said Jiao Yahui, head of the Bureau of Medical Administration under the National Health Commission (NHC).

The number then began to drop with fluctuations, falling back to 105,000 on Jan. 12. At present, 75.3 percent of beds for severe cases are being used," Jiao said, adding that the total number of intensive care beds is sufficient to meet the need for treatment.


The number of people seeking treatment at fever clinics peaked on Dec. 23, 2022 at about 2.87 million, and the figure has since been in continuous decline. The number of fever patients fell to 477,000 on Jan. 12, a decrease of 83.3 percent from the peak daily figure.

The COVID-19 detection rate at fever clinics also continues to decline, peaking at 33.9 percent on Dec. 20, 2022. The number dropped to 10.8 percent on Jan. 12, Jiao added.

The proportion of positive COVID-19 tests among all hospital outpatients peaked at 5.7 percent on Dec. 19, 2022, and has since continued to drop, falling to 0.9 percent on Jan. 12.

People seeking treatment at general outpatient departments totaled nearly 9.14 million on Jan. 12, basically returning to the pre-epidemic level, Jiao said.


The majority of critical cases and COVID-related deaths are the elderly. The average age at the time of death was 80.3 years, said Jiao. Over 90 percent of the deaths involved underlying issues, including cardiovascular diseases, advanced tumors, cerebrovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, metabolic diseases and renal insufficiency.

The average age of severe case patients is 75.5 years, said Jiao, adding that of the severe cases in hospitals on Jan. 12, 92.8 percent have severe underlying issues complicated with COVID-19 infection.

In the next step, efforts will be made in health monitoring and referral services for the elderly, pregnant women, children and patients with underlying issues, Mi Feng, an NHC spokesperson, said and called for ensuring the smooth channel for transferring critical cases and further boosting vaccination among the elderly.


Despite the success achieved by health policies, some Western media continue to propagate misinformation and unwarranted accusations against China. Over the last month, one of those fallacies is related to the claim that the authorities have failed to handle the pandemic.

During the past three years, however, China has managed to keep its severe cases and death rates of COVID-19 among the lowest in the world.

"In fact, China has innovated control methods, improved them, and demonstrated their effectiveness by saving millions of lives," said Josef Gregory Mahoney, a professor of politics and international relations at East China Normal University.

He also pointed out that some countries look at China through a perverse lens: they fail to acknowledge the country's successes because they politicize everything about China ideologically.

Another fallacy is that Chinese patients are going short of medicine and treatment. In reality, however, Chinese medical institutions at all levels are taking all the necessary measures to increase resources and personnel. They are busy but running smoothly.

As of Dec. 25, 2022, the number of fever clinics in second-grade hospitals and above had reached 16,000 in China, and the number of such clinics in grassroots medical institutions totaled 41,000.

China is one of the largest producers of fever medicines, and its total production capacity is sufficient to meet demand.

The daily output of ibuprofen and acetaminophen, two key antipyretic analgesics, had reached 202 million tablets and 190 million tablets, respectively, by the end of 2022, said Wang Jiangping, vice minister of industry and information technology.

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