COVID-19 cases in China substantially dropped in Jan.: Official data

A shopping mall in Zhengzhou City, central China's Henan Province, January 24, 2023. /CFP

The number of COVID-19 cases dropped significantly in China in the first month of 2023, according to data released on Wednesday by the disease control authority.

Many of the data metrics have dropped below pre-optimization levels, displaying a clear trend of recovery.

Daily visits to fever clinics reached 2.86 million on December 23, then dropped by 97.8 percent to about 63,000 on Monday, said a webpage posted by the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients across the Chinese mainland dropped by 84.8 percent to 248,000 on Monday from 1.62 million on January 5. That of severe cases also dropped by 72 percent from 128,000 on January 5 to 36,000 on Monday.

The number of daily deaths dropped by 79 percent from 4,273 on January 4 to 896 on Monday, the CDC data showed.

BA.5.2 is the main sub-variant

CDC said they had collected 10,165 virus samples from across the Chinese mainland since early December, over 70 percent of which belong to the Omicron BA.5.2 sub-variant.

Other sub-variants, like the BA.5.1, BA.2.76 and BN.1.3, each accounted for less than 0.4 percent.

The second most popular sub-variant is BF.7 with a share of more than 28 percent. Beijing and Tianjin are the only two provincial areas that saw BF.7 as the dominant sub-variant in this period.

Senior people are also vaccinated

Vaccination against COVID-19 also saw progress, as more than 3.4 billion doses have been taken across the Chinese mainland.

More than 90.5 percent of the Chinese population have been fully vaccinated, up from 90.1 percent in August 2022.

China's health authorities have been trying to get more senior people vaccinated to reduce severe cases. According to a recent CDC survey, 96 percent of senior people over 60 years old have been fully vaccinated, while 92 percent are getting a boost dose.