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New corona wave rushes through China – what that means for Germany

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New corona wave rushes through China – what that means for Germany

In Germany, Corona feels over. Even the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) has discontinued its dashboard on the infection situation in Germany, and the Corona warning app has also been in dormant mode since June 1st. According to the pandemic radar, the 7-day incidence in this country is just 3.2 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

40 million new infections per week in China

But such a relaxed situation as in this country is far from being the case everywhere in the world. In China, for example, where the pandemic began, another wave of infections is rolling through the country with an alarmingly high number of cases.

According to the Chinese Health Commission, there are millions of new infections in the country every day. The leading Chinese epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan currently assumes 40 million per week. Even worse: by the end of the month, he even expects 65 million new infections per week. A huge and worrying number.

Kekulé: “There will probably be a lot of deaths in China again”

The virologist Alexander Kekulé agrees. “It is very likely that there will be many deaths again as a result of this wave in China,” he told T-online. It is true that one does not know exactly how many people in China die because of Corona because there is no reliable data on this. Officially, however, a total of 90,000 deaths have now been reported. Kekulé emphasizes that this number is probably far too low. Especially since until recently China only counted those cases as corona deaths that died as a result of lung failure with the virus.

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“The virus will no longer be as dangerous as it was in the first wave”

Kekulé also fears that the number of infections in the summer wave in China will be high. “It wouldn’t be surprising if a third of the population got infected there in the next two months,” he said on T-Online. According to official information, 80 percent of older people are vaccinated, but nobody knows whether this is true and how well they are protected by the Chinese vaccines. Because China still relies on its own vaccines developed in the country.

Even if the new wave is a severe setback for the Chinese population and the economy, the situation in China should not unsettle us. “Probably only new omicron subvariants will form, as is happening all the time all over the world,” says the virologist. Although these are more contagious and could also infect vaccinated and recovered people, this does not make the virus more dangerous.

Kekulé is therefore confident: “This virus will no longer be as dangerous as it was in the first wave of the pandemic,” he affirms. So he is sure that our immune system will be able to cope with new variants.

XBB variant is behind the rallies in China

Currently responsible for the surge in China is the XBB omicron variant, which is highly infectious due to its ability to evade the immune system. China already went through a violent wave last December and January after ending its strict corona rules, in which it is believed that 80 to 90 percent of the 1.4 billion citizens would have been infected. As a result, some hospitals were overloaded. According to reports, also crematoria. Experts assume that around one million people died of Corona last winter.

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There is no evidence that the clinical picture has changed or worsened. According to the state media, anyone who had been infected in winter can now expect milder symptoms. Two new vaccines tailored to XBB have also been approved. However, it is unclear when these will be used. Nevertheless, the health authorities in the country urge caution. Schools, for example, were also asked to be vigilant.

Kekulé is concerned about exotic corona variants in wildlife populations

With regard to Corona, however, Kekulé is not so much worried about China as about something completely different. Because there have been indications for months that Sars-CoV-2 would have developed unnoticed in wild animals, for example in Poland and the USA. In Poland, for example, exotic variants have also been found in mink in fur farms. “If they jump back to humans, they could cause more severe courses than the current omicron subvariants,” Kekulé cautions.

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