China’s health authorities are taking urgent measures to cope with a significant increase in respiratory illnesses among children, calling for extended service hours and more clinics nationwide.
National Health Commission’s Directive
In a recent news conference, the National Health Commission (NHC) emphasized the need for hospitals to expand their capabilities.
NHC spokesperson Mi Feng stated, “Efforts should be made to increase the number of relevant clinics and treatment areas, appropriately extend service hours, and strengthen guarantees of drug supplies.”
This directive comes amid reports of overcrowded pediatric hospitals and parents experiencing long waits for medical care.
Pathogens Behind the Increase in Cases
Wang Huaqing, chief expert at the Chinese CDC, identified several pathogens contributing to the rise in respiratory cases among children, including rhinovirus and mycoplasma pneumonia.
The SARS-CoV-2 virus is predominantly detected is predominantly detected in older patients.
Strain on the Healthcare System
The surge has placed considerable strain on China’s healthcare system. Hospitals in Beijing and Liaoning Province are facing prolonged waiting times.
Some facilities have called upon retired pediatricians to assist with the increasing patient load.
Skepticism Over Official Explanations
There is growing skepticism regarding the regime’s claim that mycoplasma pneumonia is primarily responsible for the outbreak.
Some residents and health professionals have expressed doubts, noting the ineffectiveness of standard treatments and similarities in symptoms to COVID-19.
Concerns of COVID-19 Resurgence
Amid these reports, there is speculation that the recent illnesses might be related to a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.
This may be a possible downplay by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) due to its earlier declaration of victory over the pandemic.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has requested detailed information from Beijing following reports of undiagnosed pneumonia clusters.
The WHO’s inquiries aim to determine if novel pathogens are behind these illnesses. However, Chinese authorities have assured that no unusual pathogens have been detected.
History of Epidemic Reporting in China
China has faced global scrutiny in its outbreak reporting since the 2003 SARS epidemic. Concerns about data transparency have persisted, especially since the emergence of COVID-19 in Wuhan in late 2019.
The WHO has called for more transparent reporting, particularly in light of the severe impact of lifting COVID-19 restrictions earlier this year.