China records 3,278 COVID-related deaths between Jan 27 and Feb 2

Passengers ride on a subway with suitcases on a subway in Beijing
Passengers ride on a subway with suitcases on a subway in Beijing, China February 2, 2023. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

SHANGHAI, Feb 4 (Reuters) - China's COVID-related deaths between Jan. 27 and Feb. 2 this year in hospitals totaled 3,278, the country's Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said in a statement on Saturday.

Among them, 131 died of respiratory failure caused by the new coronavirus infection, and 3,147 died of other diseases combined with the infection, the CDC said.

The latest figure takes the total number of people who died in hospitals with COVID in China since Dec. 8 to 82,238, according to CDC data.

But some experts said that figure probably vastly undercounts the full impact, as it excludes those who die at home and because doctors have told Reuters that they have been discouraged from attributing deaths to COVID.

China abruptly ended its strict zero-COVID policy on Dec. 7 after three years, prompting a massive surge of infections across the world's most populous country.

The CDC said last week that daily COVID-related deaths at hosptials have fallen by 79% since their peak of 4,273 on Jan. 4.

Reporting by Brenda Goh and Li Hongwei; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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