So, as expected:

XBB is expected to result in 40 million infections per week by the end of May before peaking at 65 million a month later. This comes nearly six months after Beijing dismantled its Covid Zero curbs, allowing the virus to spread rapidly among the country’s 1.4 billion residents…

…Zhong’s estimate suggests that this latest wave of infections will be more muted compared to the previous wave that hit China late last year and into January. At that time, a different omicron sublineage likely infected 37 million people every day, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums and causing residents to scramble for limited supplies of fever medicine.

As in the West, almost everyone in China will get Covid. Many will get it multiple times, indeed, if Covid continues for years, this is guaranteed. As I’ve long said, the primary social issue isn’t deaths (China’s government is probably more than OK with old people dying given its onrushing demographic issues), but Long Covid and asymptomatic damage to organs and to the immune system.

In a couple years China will be like the US and Britain, with about 2% of its population disabled by Covid: in China that’s twenty-eight million people, more than the population of many countries. Two years after that, well, even assuming it’s less than linear due to deaths and (hopefully) improved treatment, thirty-five to forty million isn’t unreasonable.

After ten years?

Zero-Covid was the right policy done stupid, and it shouldn’t have been ended until China had properly changed ventilation and filtering as well as installed proper sink traps (most Chinese homes do not have traps – those bends in the pipes, which block smells). Given China was having economic issues, the extra work would have been useful for the economy anyway.

If Covid doesn’t spontaneously mutate to do less long term damage it’s not clear to me how our societies survive this in addition to climate change. It’s not just that people can’t work or are stupider (there’s a ton of brain damage) or less healthy even if they can work, it’s that medical and disability systems will need a lot more people and resources and if the government doesn’t give them, it doesn’t make the problem go away, it shoves it onto the population.

The sheer level of incompetence and inability to plan ahead in our societies is insane. I had hoped that China might prove an exception. Alas.

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