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Risk of Dangerous New COVID Variant in China is quite low: Expert Says

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Risk of Dangerous New COVID Variant in China is quite low Expert Says

(CTN News) – According to Dr. Chris Murray, who is headquartered in Seattle and serves as the director of a University of Washington health research center, it seems doubtful that a risky new Covid-19 version is spreading across China.

His remarks on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Friday coincide with a warning from U.S. health authorities this week about the possibility of a new Covid type forming in China’s widespread epidemic and how Beijing’s lack of openness might delay the identification of public health dangers.

Murray, the head of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, said that while there may have been billions of omicron infections this year, only subvariants of omicron rather than a new Covid variant had appeared.

Murray said, “For this reason, I would consider the likelihood of a hazardous new variety in China pretty low.

He said that for a new variety to develop and take the place of omicron, “some extremely specific qualities” would be required.

More than a year ago, the variation was discovered for the first time in South Africa. Compared to when Covid initially appeared in Wuhan, China, in the latter part of 2019, Omicron is far more contagious but results in a less serious illness.

Contrary to most of the rest of the globe, China is experiencing a Covid outbreak this month that is infecting 1.4 billion individuals, most of whom are being infected for the first time. Locals only have access to vaccinations produced locally.

This month, Beijing abruptly loosened several travel restrictions relating to COVID.

Authorities also said on Monday that they would stop processing passports for Chinese nationals who wish to go overseas for tourism, effective January 8.

New Covid testing requirements for visitors from China were later announced this week by the U.S., Japan, and a few other nations.

Need for hospitalization, death data

If present, an absolute travel restriction “would not make sense,” according to Murray, and he “would not put in testing criteria.”

We need greater information about what’s occurring in China; the argument goes, according to Murray.

According to him, the early indication of a new variety would not be a lot of infections as with omicron, but rather a change in the hospitalization or mortality rate linked to Covid.

The National Health Commission of China said it would discontinue publishing daily data on Covid infections and fatalities on Sunday.

The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has continued to provide daily statistics, which, combined with hospital discharge data, merely indicate that there are thousands of new Covid infections and a few fatalities daily. In China, COVID testing is no longer required.

According to information published on China’s disease control center website, Shen Hongbing, the center’s director, met virtually this month with the leaders of the United States and United Kingdom’s health security agencies.

Covid risks

Murray cautioned that the hypothesis that viruses change to keep their hosts alive “applies over quite a long timespan, not months or years.”

According to Murray, genomic research suggests that a mutation resulting from a more serious illness might develop.

It would be not very smart for us to presume that all the variations would be similar to omicron.

According to research published in Nature Medicine in November, the risk of organ failure and mortality increases when Covid-19 infection occurs more than once.

Related CTN News:

Why are Some Places Imposing COVID Testing On Visitors From China?

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