By John Gartenberg / Reuters China’s government has vowed to improve the countrys ability to cope with a surge in pandemic-related deaths, as the country has become the world’s second-largest killer of people in the 21st century.
The government on Monday announced an additional 4.4 million new cases of coronavirus-related death, bringing the total to 14.4.
That number is the highest since the first coronaviruses began spreading globally in 2008, and nearly triple the previous record set in 2016.
China has been among the hardest hit nations by the pandemic, with more than 5.1 million people dying from coronaviral-related causes in 2020, according to the United Nations.
The toll is nearly triple that of the last pandemic in 2013, which claimed 1.2 million lives worldwide.
China’s pandemic has been particularly difficult to contain, however, because of its massive size and the country’s large population.
A combination of air pollution, poverty, and a lack of access to basic services and education have left millions of people living with chronic illness, with a sharp rise in hospitalizations in the past few months.
The number of people infected with the coronavira virus has increased by nearly 200 percent since the end of March, according the World Health Organization, with the country now experiencing the highest number of cases since the pandemics began.
China’s health ministry has been working hard to improve emergency response, including introducing a new coronavirotic agent and encouraging more families to donate blood.
China has also been investing in efforts to control the spread of the virus, including by building and expanding public health systems and providing free vaccination programs.