China's COVID-19 battle continues in 2 key hot spots

Shanghai COVID-19 lockdown
Shanghai COVID-19 lockdown

Graeme Kennedy / iStock

With Shanghai's lockdown in effect for about a month, cases are slowly declining, but health officials are alarmed about more infections reported outside of quarantine facilities. Meanwhile, cases are still rising in Beijing, where health officials continue to tighten measures.

Meanwhile, in the United States, cases continue to grow, especially in the Northeast, though the level of hospitalizations and deaths are still low.

Shanghai continues lockdown; Beijing tightens steps

In Shanghai, cases have been declining since the middle April, raising hopes among frustrated residents. After going 2 days with no new cases outside of quarantine settings, the city reported 58 such cases, signaling a setback for control efforts, according to Reuters.

City officials have had an aggressive policy about quarantining people and their contacts, sometimes separating parents from children, which resulted in pushback from citizens.

Meanwhile, authorities in Beijing imposed restrictions over the Labor Day 5-day holiday celebration, which is typically a busy travel season. Over the weekend, restaurants were barred from indoor dining, and workers and students will be required to be tested for COVID-19 before returning to work or school after the holiday, according to CNN. The holiday started on Apr 30.

China's National Health Commission (NHC) today reported 7,741 new local cases, 6,895 of them asymptomatic. Of the symptomatic cases, 85% are from Shanghai, and, of the asymptomatic ones, 95% are from Shanghai.

Beijing recorded 36 new symptomatic cases, along with 5 asymptomatic ones. The country reported 32 more deaths, all in Shanghai.

In other global developments:

  • South Africa's COVID-19 test positivity rate rose to 22% yesterday, as officials are assessing whether a steady rise over the past 2 weeks marks the start of a fifth wave or a temporary blip due to recent Easter holiday gatherings, according to News24, a South African news source based in Cape Town. Scientists in South Africa are tracking rising proportions of two new Omicron subvariants—BA.4 and BA.5—which appear to be somewhat more transmissible than the BA.2 subvariant.

  • South Korea recently relaxed it outdoor masking mandate, but many people are still wearing them because of persistent Omicron spread, according to Reuters.

US cases climb 25%, but deaths fall

In the United States, the 7-day average of new daily COVID-19 cases is 58,280, with 337 daily deaths, according to the Washington Post tracker. In the past week, new daily cases rose 24%, hospitalizations rose 9%, and deaths fell 12%.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC's) COVID-19 Community Levels map shows that 90.3% of US counties have low COVID-19 levels, 8.0% have medium levels, and 1.7% have high levels.

Despite the increase in cases, deaths and hospitalizations remain low. According to the New York Times, fewer than 400 deaths per day are being recorded, a decrease of 20% over the past 2 weeks.

The most dramatic case increases continue to be seen in New England, with Vermont, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts reporting 30% or more increases in the past 2 weeks.

The CDC COVID Data Tracker shows 66.2% of Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 77.6% have received at least one dose of vaccine, and 45.8% of those eligible have received their first booster dose.

CIDRAP News Reporter Stephanie Soucheray contributed to this story.

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