Disturbing Scenes in China’s Hospital as Respiratory Cases Soar

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Beijing, Nov 28 (Agencies): A video has surfaced showing a large group of masked patients waiting for treatment inside a hospital in China. The video was recorded in one of Beijing’s medical centers and shows hundreds of adults and children crowded in a waiting area. There are growing concerns over a spike in mystery respiratory illnesses that have been hitting children especially hard. Beijing health officials and the World Health Organization have stated that no new or unusual pathogens have been found in the pneumonia cases. The illnesses have been attributed to a rise in the number of children contracting viruses they had avoided during two years of strict COVID restrictions, which were only recently lifted

What could be the root cause behind the surge in illnesses?
Recent clusters of respiratory infections in China are caused by a combination of known viruses such as the flu, rhinoviruses, the respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), the adenovirus, as well as bacteria such as mycoplasma pneumonia, according to a spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission. The emergence of new flu strains or other viruses capable of triggering pandemics typically starts with undiagnosed clusters of respiratory illness. Both COVID-19 and SARS before it were first reported as unusual types of acute pneumonia. Chinese authorities have attributed the uptick in respiratory conditions to the lifting of COVID lockdown restrictions. Wu Zhiwei, director of the Center for Public Health Research at the Nanjing University Medical School, mentioned that some common respiratory infections, which typically occur in winter, had not hit China heavily during the pandemic, causing low immunity against these infections

Source: NBC News (YouTube)

Who sounded the alarm regarding the cases of pneumonia?
The recent surge in respiratory illnesses in China has garnered global attention, prompting the World Health Organization (WHO) to request more information. Maria Van Kerkhove, acting director of the WHO’s Department of Epidemic and Pandemic Preparedness and Prevention, stated that the peak of the current waves of respiratory illnesses is not as high as what was observed in 2018-2019. She emphasized that this surge is not indicative of a novel pathogen, as it is in line with what most countries experienced a year or two ago. The WHO reiterated that no new or unusual pathogens have been found in the recent cases. Chinese health authorities provided the requested information, indicating an increase in hospital admissions of children driven by bacterial infection, RSV, influenza, and common cold viruses since October

How is China addressing and responding to this illness?
Chinese health officials have advised local authorities to open more fever clinics and promote vaccinations to address the surge in respiratory illnesses in China. Hospitals in Beijing and Liaoning province have reported long lines, with cases among children appearing to be particularly high. The health ministry has recommended that people wear masks and that local authorities focus on preventing the spread of illnesses in crowded places such as schools and nursing homes. The increase in hospitalizations has been attributed to bacterial infection, RSV, influenza, and common cold viruses. Parents have been asked to avoid taking children with less severe symptoms to hospitals in northern China. Despite videos showing medical centers swamped with patients, officials have insisted that the spike in cases has not overloaded China’s hospitals

What unfolds in the next steps remains to be seen
Respiratory illnesses in China are expected to peak in the next couple of weeks, according to Li Tongzeng, the chief physician at the infectious diseases department at Beijing You’an Hospital. A second wave of cases could spike during the New Year holidays, raising the risk of infections among vulnerable elderly people during family celebrations. Health officials have urged local authorities to open more fever clinics and promote vaccinations to address the surge in respiratory illnesses. Hospitals in Beijing and Liaoning province have reported long lines, with cases among children appearing to be particularly high. The increase in hospitalizations has been attributed to bacterial infection, RSV, influenza, and common cold viruses. Parents have been asked to avoid taking children with less severe symptoms to hospitals in northern China. Despite videos showing medical centers swamped with patients, officials have insisted that the spike in cases has not overloaded China’s hospitals

This news has been read 1833 times!

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