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Global Times

Chinese experts differ on whether 'winter of 2021 will be the last winter associated with COVID-19'

Global Times

By Global Times Published: Mar 06, 2022 02:32 PM

Gao Fu, director of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Sunday that it is still too early to say that the winter of 2021 will be the last winter associated with the novel coronavirus.

In a previous interview with CCTV News, Zhang Wenhong, a well-respected infectious disease expert in Shanghai, said the coming year, whether due to the level of herd immunity - the immune barrier established through vaccines, or the launch of COVID-19 drugs, the winter of 2021 could be the last "cold winter" associated with the virus.

"I still remain very confident that the COVID-19 pandemic will be over by the end of this year," Zhang said.

Zhang has said that the situation could be worse if the COVID-19 virus recombines with other coronaviruses. He explained that so far this is a very low probability event. "I believe that with the experience we have gained in dealing with COVID-19, we as humans will be able to cope with whatever mutations the virus may take in the future."

However, in an interview with China News Service on Sunday, Gao, who is also a member of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, said that this conclusion may be mainly due to the increased transmission power of the Omicron variant, but the reduced virulence, which is an ideal state, referring to experts' opinion that the winter of 2021 will be the last winter associated with COVID-19.

Gao pointed out that "the real numbers (of cases) don't tell us that it has subsided to a level lower than flu."

"I think the virus itself is adapting to humans, and it's changing," Gao said, stressing that different experts can hold different opinions on the issue. "I personally don't think we are at the point where we can predict that after this winter, the virus will be acceptable to human society."

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