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China's hospitals, like this one in Shanghai, have been overrun with mostly elderly COVID-19 patients since strict antivirus restrictions were dropped in December. But data suggests infections have already peaked.    © AP
The Big Story

China crests first infection wave since abandoning zero-COVID

Overloaded hospitals and morgues suggest true death toll is hidden and worst is to come

Nikkei staff writers | China

SHANGHAI/BEIJING/HONG KONG -- For Cindy Wan and a group of her friends, the first order of business after recovering from COVID-19 was going to Shanghai's fashionable Jing'an clubbing district to hear Korean rap music, drink margaritas and celebrate what has become known simply as yangguole, or "having had COVID."

Half listening to the band, a duet known as Crystal Bubble, the 20-something Wan said they were celebrating their "liberation" in a bar, uncharacteristically crowded for a Monday night on Jan. 9. "Feeling reborn is an exaggeration, but it is awesome," said Wan, a Shanghai college administrator.

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