The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending that people in China wear masks, socially distance and stay home if they're unwell, as cases of an 'undiagnosed pneumonia' has been detected in hospitals in Beijing and Liaoning - located roughly 500 miles northeast of the capital.
According to reports, healthcare facilities are "overwhelmed" with sick children, whose schools are on the verge of suspending classes. Meanwhile, the situation prompted an alert from ProMed, the disease surveillance system which similarly sounded the alarm when COVID-19 was an emerging mystery infection in Wuhan towards the end of 2019.
The State Council said influenza would peak this winter and spring and mycoplasma pneumoniae infection would continue to be high in some areas in future. It also warned of the risk of a rebound in COVID infections.
"All localities should strengthen information reporting on infectious diseases to ensure information is reported in a timely and accurate manner," the State Council said in a statement.
The situation came into the spotlight this week when the WHO asked China for more information, citing a report by the Program for Monitoring Emerging Diseases (ProMED) on clusters of undiagnosed pneumonia in children.
Both China and the WHO have faced questions about the transparency of reporting on the earliest COVID-19 cases that emerged in the central city of Wuhan in late 2019.
Since the beginning of October, the Beijing CDC says that more than 3,500 cases of "respiratory infection" had been admitted into the Beijing's Children's Hospital, Radio Free Asia (funded by the US State Department) reported.
On Thursday, the WHO claimed that in response to their request, data provided by China suggested that the spread of the new virus was linked to lifting of COVID curbs (so why isn't it everywhere?), plus the circulation of known pathogens such as mycoplasma pneumoniae, a common bacterial infection which primarily affects younger individuals, and which has been circulating since May.
Here we go again guys.— Malcolm FleX (@Malcolm_fleX48) November 22, 2023
Mysterious illness being called a "Mystery Pneumonia without the cough" is currently tearing through schools in China.
Hospitals in Beijing currently overwhelmed.
Alert comes via Promed.
VIA SIM WARLORD
"At this stage, there is nothing to suggest that it may be a new variant of COVID," said Bruce Thompson, head of the Melbourne School of Health Sciences at the University of Melbourne, discussing preliminary data. "One thing to note is that we can be reassured that the surveillance processes are working, which is a very good thing," he said, revealing his blind faith in Chinese data.
The WHO, meanwhile, said it made an official request to China on Wednesday to obtain additional information, including laboratory results from reported cases and about recent trends in respiratory pathogens. The organization says it held a teleconference with Chinese health authorities from the Chinese CDC, and the Beijing Children's Hospital on Thursday.
"'Chinese authorities advised that there has been no detection of any unusual or novel pathogens or unusual clinical presentations, including in Beijing and Liaoning, but only the aforementioned general increase in respiratory illnesses due to multiple known pathogens," said the WHO. "They further stated that the rise in respiratory illness has not resulted in patient loads exceeding hospital capacities."
Local media, however - including Taiwanese outlet FTV news, claimed that hospitals are being 'overwhelmed.'
According to one employee at the Beijing Friendship Hospital pediatric department, there was a 24-hour wait for emergency cases to be seen.
We're sure vote-by-mail ballot companies are over the moon.