China says 60,000 Covid linked deaths reported since Dec. 8

Beijing, Jan 14 (EFE).- Chinese officials on Saturday said there were nearly 60,000 Covid-19 related deaths in the period between December 8, when the country began to dismantle its zero coronavirus policy, and January 12 of this year. 

National Health Commission authorities said the average age of the 59,938 registered deaths was around 80, the state-run Global Times reported. 

The experts said 90.1% of the patients who died were over 65 and that 90% had underlying health conditions. 

A total of 5,503 deaths resulted from respiratory failure directly linked to Covid-19 while 54,435 were underlying conditions that worsened due to the infection, officials said.

It is the first time Chinese officials have provided a national death toll since reeling back its strict zero-Covid policy, which had been in place since the pandemic began. 

According to the commission, the peak of severe Covid-19 cases in the current wave of infection passed on January 5, some three weeks after China relaxed its strict coronavirus policy. 

The rapid spread of the virus in China in recent weeks has cast doubt on the reliability of official figures, which until now have reported only a handful of recent deaths from the disease despite a surge of cases that has overwhelmed some hospitals. 

According to a study by Peking University, around 900 million people have been infected with Covid-19 in China since the dismantling of the zero-Covid policy. 

Health officials have warned that the current wave of infections might not peak until February or March. EFE

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