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China risks a “tsunami” of coronavirus infections resulting in 1.6 million deaths if the government abandons its long-held “COVID zero” policy and allows the highly-infectious omicron variant to spread unchecked, according to researchers at Shanghai’s Fudan University.

The peer-reviewed study, published in the journal Nature Medicine, found that the level of immunity induced by China’s March vaccination campaign would be “insufficient” to prevent an omicron wave that would swamp intensive care capacity, given low vaccine rates among the elderly and the virus’s ability to evade immunity from existing shots.

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