CHINA faces new 4.2 million cases and 5000 deaths a day as the “thermonuclear” Covid surge takes hold of the country.
Crematoriums are reportedly already working 24 hours to cope with the soaring number of dead as huge queues of hearses line the streets.
Harrowing footage inside one of China's Covid-ravaged hospitals shows wheelchair-bound patients just feet from corpses.
Now new figures predict the situation will worsen in the coming days, in the wake of China abandoning its Zero Covid strategy of harsh lockdowns.
China is now bracing itself for the spread of the virus in a population with catastrophically low levels of immunity and vaccination.
According to health data analysts Airfinity, daily cases could reach 3.7 million per day in January and 4.2 million in March, up from the currently level of one million.
They estimate there are already 5000 deaths a day in China, in contrast to the 7 officially admitted to by the government.
Airfinity says the current outbreak is growing more rapidly in the capital Beijing and the southern province of Guangdong.
“China has stopped mass testing and is no longer reporting asymptomatic cases,” said Dr Louise Blair, Airfinity’s head of vaccines and epidemiology.
“The combination means the official data is unlikely to be a true reflection of the outbreak being experienced across the country.
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“China has also changed the way it records Covid-19 deaths to only include those who die from respiratory failure or pneumonia after testing positive.
“This is different to other countries that record deaths within a time frame of a positive test or where Covid-19 is recorded to have attributed to the cause of death.
“This change could downplay the extent of deaths seen in China.”
Airfinity has also predicted that China could ultimately see 2.1 million Covid deaths.
It comes as nearly 37 million people in China may have been infected with Covid-19 on a single day this week, Bloomberg reports, citing China's National Health Commission.
About 248 million people, which is nearly 18 per cent of the population, are likely to have contracted the virus in the first 20 days of December.
A hospital in Shanghai has told its staff to prepare for a “tragic battle” as it expects half of the city’s 25 million people to get infected by the end of the week.
“This year's Christmas Eve, New Year's Day, and the Lunar New Year are destined to be unsafe," said the private Shanghai Deji Hospital, which employs about 400 staff.
"In this tragic battle, the entire Greater Shanghai will fall, and we will infect all the staff of the hospital! We will infect the whole family.”
Meanwhile in Beijing, a long line of cars and hearses was seen outside a crematorium, which is working around the clock.
According to CNN, smoke has been seen constantly billowing from one crematorium which has been forced to use shipping containers to store bodies in the car park.
More coffins were seen being loaded into the containers as people reported waiting hours to cremate their loved ones.
China's vaccination rate is above 90 per cent but the rate for adults who have received booster shots drops to 57.9 per cent, and to 42.3 cent for people aged 80 and above.
The draconian Zero Covid policy saw the population forced to take continual tests for Coronavirus and millions put into lockdown, even if only a small number of people were testing positive.
Horror images showed those infected being dragged off to quarantine camps and even welded into their homes by brutal 'Big White' enforcers.
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But a wave of protests following a fire in which the deaths of 10 people were blamed on the harsh lockdown led to Xi dramatically ditching ‘Zero Covid’.
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