China Reports First Human Bird Flu Death

    Photo: Reuters

    The Facts

    • A 56-year-old woman from the southern Chinese province of Guangdong is the first person known to have died from a type of bird flu that is rare in humans, H3N8, the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a statement Tuesday.

    • The woman was the third person to contract the H3N8 strain, which doesn’t appear to spread between people, but the first to die from it.

    The Spin

    Anti-China narrative

    China was late in reporting this case for a month, and hopefully, the consequences won’t be the same as when Beijing delayed its reporting of the first COVID cases. We already saw H5N1 cause the world’s biggest bird flu outbreak, and it’s difficult to predict what will become of H3N8 as vaccine makers wait at the ready in case of a sustained zoonotic spillover event.

    Pro-China narrative

    There’s no cause for alarm or blame. It’s very rare for H3N8 to infect humans, and the US is prepared for fighting bird flu because of its experience with H5N1. As long as people adhere to the guidelines from the PRC's Center for Disease Control and Prevention — including minimizing exposure to poultry farms and bird markets, and avoiding eating undercooked poultry markets — this outbreak can be contained to just birds.

    Nerd narrative

    There's a 49% chance that at least 10 countries will ratify a new international treaty on pandemic prevention and preparedness before 2025, according to the Metaculus prediction community.

    Establishment split



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