It’s a startling prediction in a country, where the pandemic originated in late 2019, that only months ago had enforced some of the harshest Covid control protocols on the planet. Now, with the latest omicron variant, XBB, fueling a resurgence in cases, the response from China’s government and the public is muted at best.
The surge comes about six months after the country dismantled its sprawling infrastructure for dealing with Covid, including harsh lockdowns, mass testing, stifling quarantines and strict mask requirements.
“People feel differently about this wave,” said Qi Zhang, 30, who works at a finance company in the northern city of Tianjin. “The last time, everyone was terrified, but now they don’t think it’s a big deal,” she told NBC News on Thursday.