China's 'dynamic zero-COVID' strategy stands out
Taking a nucleic acid sample from a resident in Changning District, Shanghai, China, May 10, 2022. /CFP

Taking a nucleic acid sample from a resident in Changning District, Shanghai, China, May 10, 2022. /CFP

The global COVID-19 pandemic is still severe and full of uncertainties as Omicron, and other variants are still wreaking havoc in many parts of the world.

The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide had exceeded 603 million as of September 1, with nearly 6.5 million deaths, data from Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center (CRC) shows.

In the U.S., there are more than 94.5 million cases and over one million deaths, according to the CRC. The latest report by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and the Children's Hospital Association shows that over 14.4 million children have tested positive for COVID-19, accounting for 18.4 percent of the total cases across the country.

Since the pandemic began, the life expectancy at birth in the U.S. has dropped by more than two and a half years overall, according to the data published on Wednesday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The country's life expectancy fell to 76.1 years in 2021, the lowest since 1996 and the biggest two-year decline in 100 years.

The reduction has been particularly steep among American Indian and Alaska Native people, whose life expectancy dropped by 6.6 years between 2019 and 2021.

"The losses in the Native American population have been terrible during the COVID-19 pandemic. And it reflects a lot of barriers that tribal communities face in getting access to care," Steven Woolf, a professor of population health and health equity at Virginia Commonwealth University, told NPR.

A potential COVID-19 patient in Shawnee, Oklahoma, April 2, 2020. /Reuters

A potential COVID-19 patient in Shawnee, Oklahoma, April 2, 2020. /Reuters

Meanwhile, Japan is amid its seventh wave of coronavirus infections driven by the highly infectious BA.5 Omicron subvariant. The infected cases hit over 5.5 million in 28 days, the highest in the world, data from the CRC shows.

The situation may deteriorate further as its healthcare system struggles to provide timely emergency transportation. The absence of healthcare workers due to the impact of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has also affected the quality of treatment, according to the evaluation of the latest infectious status by the National Institute of Infectious Diseases.

Within a few weeks, Europe is projected to reach 250 million confirmed cases since the onset of the pandemic, the WHO regional director for Europe said in a statement in August.

"The virus is still circulating widely, still putting people in hospital, still causing too many preventable deaths – some 3,000 in the past week alone, about a third of the global recorded total."

One of the world's most populous countries with 1.4 billion people, China was the first to bring the pandemic under control. Over the past two years, China's dynamic zero-COVID policy and mass testing have prevented the grim death toll seen in some developed countries.

China's dynamic zero-COVID policy aims to realize zero infection and bring the pandemic under control at the minimum social cost and in the shortest time possible. It protects people's health and ensures they can lead normal lives by keeping the virus at bay.

"We previously thought COVID-19 could be basically contained through vaccines, but now it seems that there's no simple method to control it, except with comprehensive measures, although vaccines are the most important weapon in curbing the epidemic, including Omicron," Wu Zunyou, the chief epidemiologist at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention told the Global Times.

The dynamic zero-COVID policy also helps to strike a balance between pandemic control and economic growth. As the world's most populous nation, it emerged as the only major economy to grow in 2020. In 2021, its GDP increased by 8.1 percent over the previous year.

"While these restrictions have led to temporary shutdowns of ports and factories, the country's industries have so far come through the pandemic remarkably unscathed," wrote James Mayger, a Bloomberg reporter in Beijing.

"The alternative is a massive surge in infections and deaths that could bring global supply chains to a halt, sending inflation higher."

Search Trends