Respiratory diseases show declining trend, with COVID-19 at lowest level of 2023: China CDC

(Global Times) 09:48, December 25, 2023

China's respiratory diseases cases, which recently have been showing a declining trend, have mainly been caused by influenza viruses, while COVID-19 cases have reached their lowest level since the beginning of 2023, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) announced on Sunday.

The overall number of diagnosis and treatment of respiratory diseases in the outpatient clinic and emergency departments of medical institutions nationwide continues to show a fluctuating downward trend as numbers on Friday had dropped by about 30 percent compared to the peak period, Mi Feng, a spokesperson with the National Health Commission (NHC), said on Sunday at a press conference.

According to NHC, from November 26 to Sunday, the daily diagnosis and treatment volume of respiratory diseases at grassroots level medical institutions was between 1 million to 1.37 million, accounting for about 40 percent of the total number of respiratory diseases at all medical institutions nationwide.

Mi vowed to further trace the trends of respiratory diseases and changes in pathogens and virus mutations at home and abroad to strengthen situational analysis and monitoring.

China CDC also said the period of December 11 to 17 showed that acute respiratory diseases have also been dropping and that this trend is likely to continue next week, adding that influenza viruses still hold a dominant position among pathogens.

While influenza activity has slightly decreased but still remains high, infections of mycoplasma pneumoniae, adenovirus, and respiratory syncytial virus rose and fell. COVID-19 activity is at its lowest level this year, according to China CDC.

China CDC recommended that the public, especially vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, children and people with underlying disease, to wear masks while taking subways, buses, trains and planes as traveling will increase at the end of the year.

As wearing masks for a long period of time can hinder the normal functioning of the immune system and weaken people's ability to resist diseases, experts do not particularly advocated masks be required for an extended period of time unless there is a major viral outbreak or when going to crowded places, said China's top respiratory disease expert Zhong Nanshan on Friday.

China in early December released a guideline on wearing masks to prevent respiratory illness while reducing their impact on people's daily life. The document gave scenarios to the public when they should and should not wear masks.

(Web editor: Tian Yi, Liang Jun)


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