In a non-peer-reviewed, preprinted study published on Dec. 14, researchers at the University of Hong Kong and other institutions used data from recent outbreaks in Hong Kong and Shanghai to construct models, according to Nature News.
It estimated the likely outcomes of the current outbreak under different scenarios after the easing of epidemic prevention measures.
The study predicts that a rapid rise in infection rates will result in hospitals will be overwhelmed and could lead to about 1 million deaths in the coming months.
The fourth dose of vaccine coverage of 85% and antiviral drug coverage of 60% would reduce infection rates and the number of serious infections and deaths by 26%-35%.
In addition, the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington has tracked and projected the global burden of new crown epidemics and infections, including in China.
IHME’s predictive model shows that if China continues its current trend and no other effective measures are subsequently taken, 500,000 deaths are expected by April 2023 and 1.6 million by the end of 2023.
If controls are reintroduced, vaccine third and fourth doses are increased, and antiviral drugs are provided to high-risk groups when mortality rates exceed a certain threshold, the total number of deaths could be reduced to about 290,000 between now and April.
Widespread mask-wearing could further reduce the number of deaths to about 230,000.