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China vs. Omicron: Need a Change in Strategy?

China vs. Omicron: Need a Change in Strategy?

This may seem ridiculously low when you look at the local numbers of 50,000 new infections and more, especially in a country of 1.4 billion people. But China is on alert. The trend in the number of cases has been rising sharply for weeks. The majority of infections are still being reported from the already isolated Jilin Province, where new temporary hospitals are being sent for isolation. But the virus is spreading.

About 20 Chinese regions have reported at least a few cases for days. This also includes the capital, Beijing, and the important economic centers of Shanghai and Shenzhen in the south of the country. Similar to Changchun, the city of 17 million has ordered its citizens to shut down for several days. Apple supplier Foxconn had to stop parts of production.

Observers have warned that since no Chinese have yet contracted the virus, and Chinese vaccines are considered less effective, a large-scale outbreak could lead to many deaths. Classic inactivated vaccines containing dead viruses are used in China. These usually cause a relatively weak reaction in the part of the immune system that protects against severe cycles, says virologist Jessen Friedman-Weber. The protection wears off over time.

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