As the Omicron variant, known as XBB, continues to spread rapidly throughout China, the country is bracing for a surge in COVID-19 cases.
According to senior health adviser Zhong Nanshan, infections could reach 40 million per week by the end of this month and peak at around 65 million cases weekly by the end of June.
While this wave of infections is expected to become the second largest in China, it will likely be smaller than the initial wave experienced last year.
However, due to the limited testing and reporting in China, the true number of cases could be much higher than what is being reported.
In an effort to combat the spread of XBB, two new vaccines targeting the variant have been developed and are soon to be released in the market.
Zhong Nanshan, China’s top respiratory disease expert, recently discussed the projected COVID-19 wave at the 2023 Greater Bay Area Science Forum.
He emphasized the significance of developing effective vaccines against XBB, as it has become the dominant strain in China.
So far, two vaccines have been approved for use against XBB in China, with more approvals expected in the near future.
However, it remains unclear how effective these vaccines will be in stopping the spread of the virus. Only time will tell if China will be able to successfully contain this latest outbreak.
Erica Carlin is an independent journalist, opinion writer and contributor to several news and opinion sources. She is based in Georgia.