Chinese pathogen biology professor Yang Zhanqiu told China’s state-run Global Times on Wednesday the nation’s latest epidemic of the Chinese coronavirus “won’t spread widely” despite Chinese health officials reporting record-high cases of the disease in recent days across nearly two dozen provinces and municipalities.

“Mass vaccination has helped in building an immunity barrier. People’s resistance to the virus will increase,” Yang said, adding, “it’s unlikely for this wave of the outbreak to spread widely.”

Yang offered his prediction on March 9, just 72 hours after Chinese health officials revealed on March 6 that China recorded its “highest daily tally of COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus] cases in two years.”

China’s nationwide coronavirus tally soared to 526 on Sunday. The infections were “scattered across 14 provinces and municipalities, including several port cities such as Qingdao and densely populated metropolises like Shanghai,” according to a separate report by the Global Times published on March 7.

Workers in protective suits take a rest as people line up to register during a mass COVID-19 test outside a shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Workers in protective suits take a rest as people line up to register during a mass coronavirus test outside a shopping mall in Beijing, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2022. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

Proving Yang’s March 9 forecast wrong, the Global Times confirmed a “spike” in China’s national coronavirus caseload on March 11. The publication noted new, domestically transmitted infections of the Chinese coronavirus had spread to “16 provincial-level regions” as of Friday.

“Some Chinese public health experts called the latest rebound ‘the most severe onslaught’ since the early epidemic in Wuhan,” the Global Times grimly relayed.

“[A]fter two years of fighting the epidemic with rigorous measures, different sectors have shown a certain level of fatigue toward the dynamic zero COVID strategy, which could affect the outcome of the implementation of the current policy,” the newspaper added.

The date of China’s latest coronavirus “spike” (March 11) is significant, as it marked the two-year anniversary of the World Health Organization (W.H.O)’s declaration of a pandemic of the Chinese coronavirus. Yang Zhanqiu’s employer — identified by the Global Times as Wuhan University — likewise seems noteworthy as the learning institution is located in Wuhan, the central Chinese city in which the Chinese coronavirus originated in 2019.

Customers purchase Covid-19 rapid antigen test kits from a store on March 01, 2022 in Hong Kong, China. (Anthony Kwan/Getty Images)

Many details about how the Chinese coronavirus first emerged in the human population remain unknown. The Chinese coronavirus is an alternative name for “COVID-19,” which itself is the name of the disease caused by a type of coronavirus called SARS-CoV-2.

Scientists previously detected viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 within Asian bat populations before the novel SARS-CoV-2 emerged among humans in 2019.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology’s Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases reportedly studied coronaviruses in bats — including their “risk of … emergence” within the human population — for years prior to 2019 and in the months immediately preceding the onset of the Chinese coronavirus pandemic on March 11, 2020.


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