China has tightened its definition of COVID-19-related deaths, only counting respiratory failure toward its total count.
After caving to protester demands and rolling back pandemic-related restrictions, China will only consider death due to respiratory complications in infected patients in the official COVID-19 death toll.
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China’s National Health Commission announced the change Tuesday via a briefing in Beijing.
China previously held some of the world’s toughest COVID-19 restrictions and claimed to have maintained a near-zero death rate since the start of the global pandemic in 2019. China lifted the restrictions earlier this month following riots and public protests.
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The newly announced guidelines share a glimpse of behind-the-scenes decisions that have kept the country’s pandemic numbers drastically lower than other nations. China has only reported a total of 5,242 COVID-19 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic in 2019.
For comparison, the United States officially reports having over 1.1 million COVID deaths, which included a stretch from Dec. 2021 to Jan. 2021, when it averaged thousands of deaths per day.
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In Europe, the U.K. reports having just under 200,000 deaths; Italy reports having just over 180,000 deaths; France and Germany report having approximately 160,000 deaths each; and Spain and Portugal report having 116,000 and 25,000, respectively, according to Worldometers.
Fox News’ Lawrence Richard contributed to this report.