Thursday, May 11, 2023

Hong Kongs COVID Resurgence


Although today (May 11th) marks the official end to the COVID public health emergency here in the United States, the virus has not gone away, and in some parts of the world it appears to be on the rebound again. 

One of those places where cases, and deaths, have been rising markedly in the past month or two has been Southeast Asia. 

Despite very limited reporting by member nations, last week's WHO epidemiological report cited more than a 4-fold increase in cases, and a 3-fold increase  in deaths, in Southeast Asia over the past 28 days. 

Hong Kong's CHP weekly COVID surveillance report (below) indicates that COVID cases have increased roughly 10-fold in the past 6 weeks, and that severe illness and deaths are on the rise as well. 

Some excerpts from today's report follow:

Local Situation of COVID-19 Activity (as of May 10, 2023) 

Reporting period: Apr 30 – May 6, 2023 (Week 18)  
  • The latest surveillance data showed that the activity of COVID-19 has increased in the past one week in Hong Kong. 
  • Members of the public are advised to maintain strict personal and environmental hygiene at all times for personal protection against COVID-19 infection and prevention of the spread of the disease in the community. For more details, please visit the COVID-19 information page (  
  • For the latest information on COVID-19 and prevention measures, please visit the thematic website of COVID-19 ( 
  •  Members of the public are advised to take note of the latest recommendations on the use of COVID-19 vaccines in Hong Kong to protect themselves from serious outcomes of COVID-19. For more details, please visit ( _covid19_vaccines_in_hong_kong_29mar.pdf).

Surveillance of severe and fatal COVID-19 cases 

(Note: The data reported are provisional figures and subject to further revision.) 

In week 18, the weekly number of severe COVID-19 cases including deaths with cause of death preliminarily assessed to be related to COVID-19 was 159 as compared to 119 in the preceding week. (Figure 1.6)

In the first 4 days of week 19 (May 7 – May 10), 94 severe COVID-19 cases including deaths with cause of death preliminarily assessed to be related to COVID-19. Since Jan 30, 2023, the cumulative number of fatal cases with cause of death preliminarily assessed to be related to COVID-19 was 283 (as of May 10, 2023).

          (Continue . . . .)

Although the number of cases (and deaths) in Hong Kong remains far below the dramatic heights they reached in 2022, this is a reminder that COVID - even without the emergence of a new, more virulent variant - can still cause significant new waves of infection.  

Immunity fades several months after infection or vaccination, making reinfection more likely. Add in relaxed protective measures, and the return of large gatherings, and you have a recipe for seeing sporadic waves of infection. 

A good reason to consider getting the COVID bivalent booster shot, if you haven't already.  And for those who are over 65, or who are immunocompromised, getting a second booster.  

Since Hong Kong is one of the few places where we continue to get this type of surveillance, we'll be watching it carefully in the weeks and months to come.