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Putting People First: Prioritizing Public Health in the Fight Against COVID-19

ChinaPutting People First: Prioritizing Public Health in the Fight Against COVID-19

Huang Jianmei, a Wuhan resident, recently contracted the Omicron variant of COVID-19, but she was not in a state of panic. Having survived the initial outbreak of the pandemic, Huang knew that the virus was not as destructive as before, and she had faith in the diagnosis and treatment. Huang completed a full course of vaccination, including a booster shot, and recovered from the virus after experiencing mild symptoms.

During the initial outbreak of COVID-19 in early 2020, Huang lost her husband to the virus, and she, her son, and her daughter were all infected. Huang was in critical condition and was transferred from a quarantine site to a designated COVID-19 hospital, then to Huoshenshan Hospital, which was temporarily built for treating COVID-19 cases. After two months of treatment, Huang recovered and participated in a national clinical treatment and research project on stem cells.

To contain the pandemic in Wuhan in early 2020, over 40,000 medics from across the country rushed to the central Chinese city. Thanks to their resolute efforts, more than 3,000 COVID-19 patients aged 80 and above were cured. Since securing the strategic outcomes in the battle to defend Hubei province and Wuhan, China has effectively tackled over 100 cluster infections over the past three years, fighting different variants of the virus, including Delta and Omicron, and prioritizing people’s lives and health above everything else.

IHuang Jianmei’s experience with the Omicron variant of COVID-19 highlights the progress that China has made in combating the pandemic over the past three years. The mobilization of medical resources and the dedication of medical personnel in Wuhan during the initial outbreak, coupled with China’s ongoing efforts to prioritize people’s health and well-being, have helped to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on the country. Despite the emergence of new variants of the virus, such as Omicron, China’s effective response and the availability of vaccines have helped to reduce the severity of the virus.

People’s health remains a top priority in the ongoing fight against COVID-19. Medical professionals across China have made significant strides in managing the virus and keeping it under control. Huang Jianmei, a Wuhan resident, recently contracted the Omicron variant but recovered quickly without needing hospitalization, thanks to the optimized diagnosis and treatment procedures put in place. Huang lost her husband to the virus in 2020 and was in a critical state herself, but she survived and has since participated in a national clinical treatment and research project on stem cells.

China has effectively tackled more than 100 cluster infections in the past three years, and medical personnel have worked tirelessly to control the pandemic. In 2022, a number of centenarians fully recovered from COVID-19 infections, including 101-year-old He Cui from Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region, who recovered after 10 days of medical treatment. China’s ability to manage severe COVID-19 cases and death rates has been among the lowest in the world.

China’s average life expectancy has continued to rise amid the pandemic, from 77.93 years in 2020 to 78.2 years in 2021. An increasing number of elderly people are getting vaccinated against COVID-19 in China, with over 90% of the population fully vaccinated. However, while almost 87% of people over 60 have been fully vaccinated, only 66.4% of people over 80 have completed a full course of vaccinations. With a population of 267 million aged above 60, China is accelerating vaccination efforts among this group.

Door-to-door vaccination services are offered in Beijing’s Shijingshan district to help the elderly get vaccinated. Beijing Ditan Hospital has treated over 100 COVID-19 patients over the age of 80, and the hospital’s deputy director, Chen Xiaoyou, explains that the incidence of severe illness after infection is relatively high for elderly patients who have underlying diseases, especially when the vaccination rate is generally low.

It is important to acknowledge the hard work of medical professionals and their significant efforts to keep the virus under control. Their efforts have saved countless lives and kept the population healthy during this pandemic. China has successfully managed to control the spread of the virus while keeping its death rates and severe cases among the lowest in the world. The vaccination efforts must continue, especially among the elderly population, to ensure the health and well-being of all citizens.

As the pandemic response strategy in China shifts from infection control to case treatment, the government is focusing on preventing severe cases of the disease. To achieve this, China is accelerating efforts to expand the capacity of fever clinics at medical institutions. By the end of October 2021, there were 19,400 fever clinics or consulting rooms at community healthcare centers and township level across the country.

The government is also committed to equipping about 90% of township-level health centers with fever clinics by March 2023, according to an official with the National Health Commission. This move is expected to increase the capacity of the healthcare system to handle COVID-19 cases, especially in remote areas.

To treat severe cases of COVID-19, third-grade hospitals are prepared with the most hospital beds and provide comprehensive medical services. These hospitals are the top of China’s three-tier hospital grading system, and they play a critical role in the fight against the pandemic. The government is urging all third-grade hospitals to take in COVID-19 patients with severe conditions, as well as those with multiple underlying conditions.

Jiao Yahui, an official with the National Health Commission, emphasizes the importance of strengthening medical treatment for key groups, particularly in areas with a high density of elderly people, such as nursing homes and welfare homes. The government has urged local health departments, civil affairs departments, and hospitals to provide assistance and health guidance for the elderly in these locations.

In conclusion, China is taking a multi-faceted approach to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, with measures ranging from vaccination drives to the expansion of the healthcare system’s capacity to handle severe cases. The government’s focus on vulnerable populations such as the elderly and those in remote areas is a commendable effort that deserves recognition. As the world continues to face this global health crisis, the Chinese government’s efforts serve as an example of proactive measures that can be taken to protect citizens and overcome the challenges posed by the pandemic.

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