Beijing’s figures are believed to represent only a fraction of the truth, given China’s narrow definition of death from Covid-19, as well as official estimates of infections of a large population.
The Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported last week that nearly 13,000 people died between January 13 and 19 from Covid-related illnesses, after an earlier announcement that nearly 60,000 people had died in hospitals due to of the virus within a month.
But recent government data and reports from media indicate that the tide may be ebbing since it peaked in late December and early January, when hospitals and crematoria were overwhelmed.
A statement from the China Center for Disease said on Wednesday that 896 people died from the virus in hospitals on Monday, a 79% decrease from January 4 numbers.
The center added that acute cases in hospitals were also down to 36,000 by Monday, which represented a 72% decrease from 128,000 cases on Jan. 5.
The announcement came during the Lunar New Year celebration season in China, where authorities had previously warned that group travel and large gatherings could lead to a fresh surge in infections.
As of Tuesday, some 664 million trips had been counted in across the country for people who have returned to their villages and cities to celebrate, according to the Chinese channel “CCTV”, citing official data.