Health Warning: Chinese Officials Alert About Possible Covid-19 Rebound in January

Chinese health authorities have issued a warning about a potential resurgence of Covid-19 infections in the country during January. Despite a decrease in the number of patients visiting fever clinics since New Year’s Day, health officials remain concerned about a potential rebound as the winter season progresses. The National Health Commission urges timely health consultations, vaccinations, and optimization of medical resources to prepare for the upcoming winter vacation and Spring Festival.

1. Decrease in Fever Clinic Visits, but Respiratory Diseases Still Prevalent

  • The National Health Commission reports a fluctuating downward trend in the number of patients visiting fever clinics since New Year’s Day.
  • Respiratory diseases, particularly influenza, continue to be widespread, while Covid-19 infections remain relatively low.
  • Recent data reveals that the positivity rate for Covid-19 in sentinel hospitals has remained below one percent.

2. Concerns over the JN.1 Variant and Influenza Trends:

  • Wang Dayan, director of the China National Influenza Center, highlights an upward trend in the proportion of the JN.1 variant strain of Covid-19.
  • Experts anticipate the circulation or alternation of various respiratory pathogens, including influenza, during the winter and upcoming spring.
  • Influenza B virus proportions have been rising, surpassing influenza A in some regions.

3. Winter Peak Season for Respiratory Diseases and Reinfections:

  • Wang Guiqiang from Peking University First Hospital emphasizes that winter is a peak season for respiratory diseases.
  • Immunity from infections is not long-lasting, leading to possible reinfections with milder symptoms.
  • Infections with different pathogens can exacerbate conditions, especially after damage to the upper respiratory mucosa, potentially causing secondary bacterial infections.

4. Preparations for Winter Vacation and Spring Festival:

  • With the upcoming winter vacation and Spring Festival, health authorities stress the need to strengthen monitoring and early warning systems for respiratory diseases.
  • Large-scale movement and gatherings during these periods increase the risk of disease transmission.
  • Efforts should be made to optimize medical resources, treatment processes, and vaccination campaigns.

5. Emphasis on Timely Health Consultation and Referral Services:

  • Vulnerable groups such as the elderly, pregnant women, children, and those with chronic diseases require special attention.
  • Health authorities urge the provision of timely health consultation and referral services for these groups.
  • Vaccinations against respiratory diseases, particularly influenza, are recommended for high-risk individuals.


1. Are Covid-19 cases expected to increase in China in January?

  • Chinese health officials warn of a potential rebound in Covid-19 cases during January due to the upcoming winter vacation and Spring Festival.

2. What is the current positivity rate for Covid-19 in sentinel hospitals in China?

  • Recent data shows that the positivity rate for Covid-19 in sentinel hospitals in China has remained below one percent since New Year’s Day.

3. What is the JN.1 variant of Covid-19, and why is it a concern?

  • The JN.1 variant is a strain of Covid-19 that is showing an upward trend in China. Its continuous importation, along with a decrease in domestic influenza cases and declining population immunity, raises concerns about a potential Covid-19 resurgence.

4. Why is winter a peak season for respiratory diseases?

  • Winter is a peak season for respiratory diseases due to increased transmission rates, decreased immunity from previous infections, and the potential for reinfections with milder symptoms.

5. How can individuals protect themselves during the upcoming winter vacation and Spring Festival?

Health authorities recommend timely health consultations, vaccinations against respiratory diseases, and strengthening monitoring and early warning systems. It is also important to optimize medical resources and treatment processes, particularly for vulnerable groups.

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