A report from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention on January 25 showed that, based on optional nucleic acid testing data, positive cases across the country have showed a clear trend of increasing then decreasing since December 9 of last year.
Affected by citizens’ willingness to self-test, the extent of nucleic acid testing in various provinces has been decreasing. For example, 150 million people were tested on December 9, then 7.54 million on January 1, and 280,000 on January 23. Based on the reported positive cases through mass testing, the number of infections seemed to reach a peak on December 22 with 6.94 million, then dropped to the lowest point of 15,000 on January 23. The positive rate reached its peak on December 25 with 29.2%, then gradually decreased to 5.5% on January 23.
Compared with cities, pandemic prevention work in China’s rural areas is more challenging. The number of patients in fever clinics in township hospitals reportedly reached a peak of 922,000 on December 23, then dropped to 50,000 on January 23.
Antigen self-testing kits have become a more common detection method. Since December, 2022, some provinces have established an application for collecting residents’ antigen test results. The number of test results dropped from the highest of 1.89 million on December 19 to the lowest of 105,000 on January 23. The positive results and positive rate of antigen detection increased rapidly from December 9, and reached the peak on December 22 with 337,000 and 21.3%. The lowest figures emerged on January 23, which were 4,773 and 4.5%.
On January 27, The Health Times under Chinese Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily quoted Professor Fang Bangjiang, director of the institute of critical care and severe illness at Shanghai University of Traditional Chinese Medicine, as saying, “The transmission of COVID has been gradually weakened not because the virus itself has undergone important changes but because there has been a low level of transmission in society, due to herd immunity.”
“The curves of infections from the peak to low ebb then to the peak show cyclical development, which is also in line with the development of the virus. In countries like the US and Japan, they also experienced several infection peaks,” said Qiao Shubin, director of the respiratory and critical care department at Fengtai District Hospital of Integrated Traditional Chinese and Western Medicine in Beijing. Qiao added, “After the implementation of a new pandemic policy at the end of last year, nearly 80% of people in the country have been infected, showing a small peak. Although there will be no more peaks in the short term, it does not mean that COVID-19 will disappear.”