How deadly will China's covid surge get? Answers to that and more. – The Washington Post

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China’s zero-covid policy initially saved lives, kept hospitals from being overwhelmed and gave the country time to disseminate vaccines. But it essentially pushed much of the pandemic’s impact into the future.
Now, that future has arrived.
When China ended the drastic lockdowns and restrictions that were in place for the past three years, it triggered a surge of cases and deaths in a population with little natural immunity and low levels of vaccine boosting. With data about the scale of this covid surge sparse and unreliable, scientists observing China’s crisis must piece together scraps of evidence to forecast the trajectory of this outbreak and what it might mean for the spread and evolution of the virus.
How bad will China’s death toll get? How long will the surge last? And what will happen to the virus as it spreads in a nation of 1.4 billion people? Definitive answers are extremely challenging to come by, in part because the Chinese government has not been transparent about the extent of the crisis. There are also scientific unknowns, including the efficacy of Chinese vaccines.
But public health officials across the planet at this point have a great deal of data about covid surges in other countries, including countries that opened up after employing a zero-covid policy. So the experts can make educated guesses about what lies in store for China in the weeks and months ahead — while being prepared to modify forecasts as reliable information trickles in.