Funeral Business Is Booming Again in Central China Amid Worsening Pneumonia Outbreak

China's state medical system is avoiding mention of COVID-19 when classifying pneumonia deaths, instead listing other infections or underlying disease.The outbreak of mysterious pneumonia sweeping across China continues to worsen. Residents in one of the most populous provinces of China revealed that a large number of people have died from it, causing another boom in business for the local private funeral industry.This wave of pneumonia started to be noticed spreading in China in September mostly among children, spiked in mid-October, and further worsened in November, spreading to other age groups while continuing to sweep across the country. The CCP has attributed the outbreak to cross-infections of influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, and other respiratory infections, while avoiding mention and downplaying COVID-19.However, the public and international community were not convinced that the outbreak is not related to COVID-19. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) admitted in mid-December that a much more contagious new COVID-19 variant, the JN.1 mutant strain, has been circulating in China for a couple of months.Sean Lin, an assistant professor in the Biomedical Science Department at Feitian College, a U.S. Army microbiologist, and an Epoch Times contributor, said in late November, "[CCP] officials are still concealing that COVID-19 never really completely disappeared in China."Residents in Henan Province in central China, the third most populous province in the country, revealed that many people have been infected and died from the pneumonia outbreak but there is an unspoken rule in the state medical system to avoid any mention of COVID-19.Deaths Sharply IncreaseZhou Xiang (pseudonym), a resident in Nanyang city of Henan Province, recently told The Epoch Times that there are many locals suffering from fevers and colds, and that the local hospitals are all full. While many children have been infected, more elderly people have died from pneumonia."Now, they are not allowed to say that it is related to COVID-19," Mr. Zhou said. "They attribute the elderly patients’ infections to their underlying diseases, because the medical system does not allow them to say that there is COVID-19 virus. Patients’ requests to take COVID-19 test are all denied, and when they ask the doctors [if it’s COVID-19], the doctors don’t tell them. Actually, ordinary people all know that it’s still COVID-19."Related Stories11/28/202312/15/2023Mr. Zhou said that he noticed more obituaries recently in his community, mostly for the elderly. "There are also young people and children among those who died, but they usually don’t have obituaries, and the handling of their deaths are relatively low-key. It would be enough for relatives and friends to know about it."Mr. Liu (pseudonym), also a resident of Henan province, told The Epoch Times that some of his colleagues were infected with pneumonia and their symptoms were more serious. "Many children are also infected," he said. “People all think it is the reappearance of the COVID-19 epidemic."In recent days, Mr. Mu (pseudonym), who is from Henan but works in Beijing, told The Epoch Times that he returned to Henan to escape the pneumonia outbreak in Beijing. "The epidemic in Beijing is indeed serious," he said.However, he found that there are many infections in Henan as well. He said he learned from WeChat groups that a 53-year-old female teacher in Henan suddenly fell down and died, and a 49-year-old man also died the same way, adding that these kinds of deaths attract the most comments on social media. "The COVID-19 plague is always around," he said. People receive medical attention in a Fever Clinic area in a hospital in the Changning district in Shanghai on Dec. 23, 2022 (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)Mr. Shao (pseudonym) in Xuchang city, Henan province, told The Epoch Times that many local people have developed serious symptoms alongside their fevers and colds, and that some have died. There are many patients who have developed "white lung," which is typical of lung damage and pulmonary fibrosis seen in severe COVID-19 cases. Others have been discharged from the hospital without having fully recovered."My uncle is one of them. There are many people like this in the hospital," Mr. Shao said. He added that every hospital is crowded with many patients, just like a busy market place.Mr. Shao also described hearing about sudden deaths of people, with the current epidemic situation reminding him of the massive COVID-19 outbreak a year ago.Last December, the CCP suddenly abandoned its draconian COVID-19 control measures that had been in place for three years without warning and preparation, causing an unprecedented wave of COVID-19 cases and countless deaths, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums.Meanwhile, sudden deaths and worsening infections have been reported in other places across China.Mr. Peng (pseudonym), a resident of Hengyang city in Hun

Funeral Business Is Booming Again in Central China Amid Worsening Pneumonia Outbreak

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China's state medical system is avoiding mention of COVID-19 when classifying pneumonia deaths, instead listing other infections or underlying disease.

The outbreak of mysterious pneumonia sweeping across China continues to worsen. Residents in one of the most populous provinces of China revealed that a large number of people have died from it, causing another boom in business for the local private funeral industry.

This wave of pneumonia started to be noticed spreading in China in September mostly among children, spiked in mid-October, and further worsened in November, spreading to other age groups while continuing to sweep across the country. The CCP has attributed the outbreak to cross-infections of influenza, mycoplasma pneumonia, respiratory syncytial virus, rhinovirus, and other respiratory infections, while avoiding mention and downplaying COVID-19.

However, the public and international community were not convinced that the outbreak is not related to COVID-19. The ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP) admitted in mid-December that a much more contagious new COVID-19 variant, the JN.1 mutant strain, has been circulating in China for a couple of months.

Sean Lin, an assistant professor in the Biomedical Science Department at Feitian College, a U.S. Army microbiologist, and an Epoch Times contributor, said in late November, "[CCP] officials are still concealing that COVID-19 never really completely disappeared in China."

Residents in Henan Province in central China, the third most populous province in the country, revealed that many people have been infected and died from the pneumonia outbreak but there is an unspoken rule in the state medical system to avoid any mention of COVID-19.
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Deaths Sharply Increase

Zhou Xiang (pseudonym), a resident in Nanyang city of Henan Province, recently told The Epoch Times that there are many locals suffering from fevers and colds, and that the local hospitals are all full. While many children have been infected, more elderly people have died from pneumonia.

"Now, they are not allowed to say that it is related to COVID-19," Mr. Zhou said. "They attribute the elderly patients’ infections to their underlying diseases, because the medical system does not allow them to say that there is COVID-19 virus. Patients’ requests to take COVID-19 test are all denied, and when they ask the doctors [if it’s COVID-19], the doctors don’t tell them. Actually, ordinary people all know that it’s still COVID-19."

Mr. Zhou said that he noticed more obituaries recently in his community, mostly for the elderly. "There are also young people and children among those who died, but they usually don’t have obituaries, and the handling of their deaths are relatively low-key. It would be enough for relatives and friends to know about it."

Mr. Liu (pseudonym), also a resident of Henan province, told The Epoch Times that some of his colleagues were infected with pneumonia and their symptoms were more serious. "Many children are also infected," he said. “People all think it is the reappearance of the COVID-19 epidemic."

In recent days, Mr. Mu (pseudonym), who is from Henan but works in Beijing, told The Epoch Times that he returned to Henan to escape the pneumonia outbreak in Beijing. "The epidemic in Beijing is indeed serious," he said.

However, he found that there are many infections in Henan as well. He said he learned from WeChat groups that a 53-year-old female teacher in Henan suddenly fell down and died, and a 49-year-old man also died the same way, adding that these kinds of deaths attract the most comments on social media. "The COVID-19 plague is always around," he said.

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 People receive medical attention in a Fever Clinic area in a hospital in the Changning district in Shanghai on Dec. 23, 2022 (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)
People receive medical attention in a Fever Clinic area in a hospital in the Changning district in Shanghai on Dec. 23, 2022 (HECTOR RETAMAL/AFP via Getty Images)

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Mr. Shao (pseudonym) in Xuchang city, Henan province, told The Epoch Times that many local people have developed serious symptoms alongside their fevers and colds, and that some have died. There are many patients who have developed "white lung," which is typical of lung damage and pulmonary fibrosis seen in severe COVID-19 cases. Others have been discharged from the hospital without having fully recovered.

"My uncle is one of them. There are many people like this in the hospital," Mr. Shao said. He added that every hospital is crowded with many patients, just like a busy market place.

Mr. Shao also described hearing about sudden deaths of people, with the current epidemic situation reminding him of the massive COVID-19 outbreak a year ago.

Last December, the CCP suddenly abandoned its draconian COVID-19 control measures that had been in place for three years without warning and preparation, causing an unprecedented wave of COVID-19 cases and countless deaths, overwhelming hospitals and crematoriums.

Meanwhile, sudden deaths and worsening infections have been reported in other places across China.

Mr. Peng (pseudonym), a resident of Hengyang city in Hunan Province on the south bank of the Yangtze River, said that there were 10 people in his office, three of whom have fevers and are on sick leave, and two of whom died suddenly in previous months.

A netizen in eastern Jiangsu Province posted on Dec. 22 saying, "This winter is so difficult. My child has a recurring fever and cough and is still sick. I was also infected," alongside her elderly mother, she said.

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 Children receive a drip at a children's hospital in Beijing on Nov. 23, 2023. The World Health Organization has asked China for more data on a respiratory illness spreading in the north of the country. (JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)
Children receive a drip at a children's hospital in Beijing on Nov. 23, 2023. The World Health Organization has asked China for more data on a respiratory illness spreading in the north of the country. (JADE GAO/AFP via Getty Images)

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Crematoriums Run 24 Hours a Day, Number of Private Morgues Surge

Local residents in Henan revealed that government-run crematoriums are operating day and night, and that the number of funerals has increased sharply.

Mr. Zhou said that he visited the funeral home twice in recent days to attend funerals and noticed that it was getting crowded. He said that his friend who worked in a funeral home told him that their crematoriums now operate 24 hours a day. “There are eight crematoriums in the funeral home, all cremating corpses 24 hours a day, which is quite scary,” he said.

He said that before the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, most areas in mainland China had a custom of not burning corpses after 12 p.m., which was called "no cremation after high noon." But after COVID-19 broke out, the crematoriums worked day and night.

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 A mourner carries the cremated remains of a loved one as he and other participants wear traditional white funeral clothing during a funeral in Shanghai, China, on Jan. 14, 2023. China's health care system has been struggling to cope with a surge of COVID-19 infections since the government ended nearly three years of tough zero COVID controls. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)
A mourner carries the cremated remains of a loved one as he and other participants wear traditional white funeral clothing during a funeral in Shanghai, China, on Jan. 14, 2023. China's health care system has been struggling to cope with a surge of COVID-19 infections since the government ended nearly three years of tough zero COVID controls. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

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Mr. Zhou revealed that in Nanyang City, in addition to government-run funeral homes under the Civil Affairs Bureau, the number of local private funeral parlors and morgues has increased dramatically in the past two or three years.

"The morgues of government-run funeral homes cannot meet the needs of the public. In the past three years, many private funeral homes have opened, and business has been booming. The number of local funerals has increased sharply. Now, the crematoriums are operating every day, and the corpses waiting to be burned are put in the freezers. It takes a long time to wait in line for cremation," he said.

"As far as I know, there are at least five new funeral homes that are privately owned, like private morgues. They are also registered with the Civil Affairs Bureau."

Fang Xiao and Xiong Bin contributed to this report.