Shopping Cart

Will COVID End In 2023?

Posted by S. Kit on
patient being examined on hospital bed by doctor wearing a mask

In 2023, instead of the pandemic coming to a close as many public health officials and governments had hoped, COVID-19 is far from over and a dangerous phase has emerged that urgently demands attention, according to the Lancet.

On January 5th 2020, the Chinese Center's for Disease Control and Prevention Department of Zoonoses announced the identification of a novel coronavirus causing a surge or respiratory illnesses. In short order, the World Health Organization later declared it a public Health Emergency of International Concern.

Despite multiple attempts to gain insights from the pandemic in the last three years, and negotiations on international agreements for pandemic preparedness, the worldwide response has remained ineffective and disjointed.


Read more: How COVID Changed The World


In response to widespread protests against its strict "dynamic zero-COVID" policy, on December 7th, China loosened most of its oppressive measures. Travel restrictions using electronic health passes were lifted, lockdowns were now targeted and no longer imposed on entire municipalities or cities and were lifted after 5 days of new cases. The government had decided that these new controls were now being afforded to Chinese citizens with mild or asymptomatic cases, and were permitted to self-quarantine at home.

Not long after, starting on January 8th, the Chinese government updated their international travel policies and it was permitted once again. As a result, millions of Chinese citizens contracted and spread the virus among the population in December of 2022. The aging population suffered the most and many passed away, however these deaths were not officially recorded as COVID-19 related as Chinese officials applied a strict interpretation and have not provided information related to infection count, hospitalizations and ICU admissions. As of writing this article, cases seem to be on the downward trend, at least in the capital, Beijing, however, for a variety of circumstances on the ground, China is not out of the woods. 

N95 Mask For Sale

The Chinese population is facing a difficult phase for several reasons, one of which is the insufficient vaccination rate, particularly among older individuals. Data from the Chinese National Health Commission shows that as of November, only 69% of those aged 60 and above, and 40% of those 80 and above, have completed a course of two vaccination and a booster with Chinese-licensed vaccines, which are not specifically formulated to combat the prevalent omicron variants. Efforts are currently being made to increase the vaccination rates, particularly among older individuals. Furthermore, several Chinese enterprises are developing a bivalent mRNA vaccines, however time is not on China's side, since  manufacturing and government authorization takes longer for these more effective vaccines.

With the winter season in full swing and the massive travel of Chinese citizens during the Lunar New Year, the potential spread of the virus to rural areas and weaker healthcare systems is a concern. This is particularly true for older adults with pre-existing health conditions. Many Chinese citizens are eager to reunite with loved ones after a prolonged period of restrictions, however the potential health risks could be severe. This was highlighted in a recent report by Peking University and the Lancet Commission.


Read more: WHO: XBB.1.5 Omicron Subvariant Spreading Quickly


Lastly, the imposition of travel restrictions and testing requirements for Chinese individuals by the international community, despite the circulating variants in china being similar to those already present in Europe and other regions with high levels of immunity, is seen by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control as unnecessary. Although, careful attention and monitoring shared data is important and should be supported.

KN95 Mak in Black

The XBB.1.5 omicron subvariant is causing concern as it has rapidly spread in the USA, comprising at least 20.1% of cases at the end of December, 2022, as reported by the CDC. According to Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO's COVID-19 technical lead, it is the most transmissible variant yet, with mutations in the spike protein that allow for closer binding to the ACE-2 receptor and potential evasion of immunity. There is no evidence that this omicron subvariant causes more severe infection, hospital admissions are on the rise in the Northeast of the US, where it is rapidly spreading.

It's important for everyone to stay vigilant and not let their guard down as the pandemic is far from over. Transparency in reporting cases, hospital admissions, and death should be encouraged and efforts to collaborate on variant testing and vaccinations should be accelerated. As of January 2023, the pandemic does not seem to be going anywhere.

Related COVID News

How COVID Affects The Brain

New Study: COVID And High Cholesterol Linked

Can COVID Cause High Blood Pressure?

COVID Causes Heart Problems

How COVID Affected Mental Health

How COVID Can Cause Memory Loss

Older Post Newer Post