A Peking University study has estimated that at least 900 million people across China have been infected with COVID-19 as of Jan. 11, as the country continues to grapple with life after zero-COVID protocols were eased.
According to the study:
- An estimated 64% of residents are infected
- 91% of Gansu province’s population have contracted COVID-19
- In Yunan, 84% of people are infected
- Two billion trips are expected over China’s busy Lunar New Year holiday
- China’s official COVID death toll is a little over 5,000 since the pandemic began.
The Peking University study was released just over a week before the country begins Lunar New Year celebrations during which millions of people will travel to their hometowns, raising concerns about a COVID surge in rural areas.
Some residents opted to avoid traveling to protect elderly relatives who are more susceptible to the virus’s deadly symptoms.
International health authorities have accused China of undercounting cases and deaths. Several countries have imposed testing requirements on travelers from China after it reopened its borders.
Last week, the World Health Organization asked China to be more transparent about sharing data.
Local health authorities in China have sounded the alarm about a potential second wave of infections, but residents are confused after Chinese media sent mixed messages.