China Issues Update On Dangerous New Respiratory Virus

According to the World Health Organization, the current spike in respiratory illnesses in China is not as high as the spike before the COVID pandemic and no new unusual pathogens have been found among the recent cases, Reuters reported.

The WHO’s Maria Van Kerkhove said last Friday that the waves China is seeing are not as high as what occurred in 2018 and 2019 before the pandemic erupted.

Van Kerkhove said the respiratory infections are not unexpected and mirror what most countries experiences in the last year or two. She insisted that nothing about the current spike indicated a “novel pathogen.”

Mi Feng, the spokesperson for China’s National Health Commission said last weekend that the current surge in respiratory illnesses was due to the simultaneous spread of multiple known pathogens, primarily influenza.

China’s spike in respiratory illnesses prompted global concern in late November after the World Health Organization requested further information from Beijing following a report by the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases on clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia among children in China.

Health officials in China on November 25 urged local authorities to increase their fever clinics as hospitals in Liaoning province and Beijing were warning of longer wait times due to especially high numbers of cases, particularly among children.

Dr. Li Toongzeng from the infectious diseases department of You’an Hospital in Beijing told China’s Global Times that new cases of respiratory illness were being spread by children in school and young adults in the workplace. According to Dr. Li, the new cases would likely peak in the next week or so.

Dr. Li also warned of a possible second wave that could peak during the New Year holidays with the elderly becoming more at risk during holiday gatherings with family.