It's all over but the dying. And even the dying is probably just about over.
Actually, the incredibly explosive wave of infection that has finally transitioned China to living with COVID was almost done and dusted two weeks ago, though you won't have picked that up from continuing news reports about the "ongoing" crisis.
Next up will be a sudden realisation that China has come through - after losing, perhaps, more than a million vulnerable people because its government failed to vaccinate properly, failed to prepare hospitals and then lost control of evolved, highly transmissible COVID strains in winter, the worst possible time.
When people realise China has come through, all the economic gloom about it will probably switch in a flash to excitement over its recovery.
This column reported three weeks ago that most people in Beijing had already been sick with the virus by December 15. That was only about two weeks after the major relaxation in three years of oppressive controls and a week after almost all restrictions had been dropped.
So the explosive transmissibility, hardly restrained by Chinese vaccines, was obvious - and so was the likelihood that the rest of the country would be right behind Beijing.
Here's an update: so far as I can tell, at least 80 per cent of Chinese had already been infected by Christmas or soon after.
Imagine the intensity of the wave and its challenge to the health system. We've had about 80 per cent of our population infected over the past 12 months; China suffered that in about four weeks. We keep hearing of epidemiological models predicting a peak in January. They haven't been checked against what's happening on the ground.
I know what's been happening simply because I have scores and scores of friends in China - friends close enough to have been invited for dinner in my perhaps overly sociable 16 years there. On December 10, I began hearing some say they were sick, and soon I was checking on the wellbeing of others. Most importantly, I've asked about their elderly relatives - who are all OK, by the way.
By the week before Christmas, I saw that almost all my friends already had been infected, regardless of where they lived.
Most are in big cities, but some live in smaller places, even villages. Their parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles generally live in the modest home towns.
So I'm perplexed by predictions of a new surge later this month when Chinese go back to hometowns to see relatives for the Lunar New Year. They'll supposedly carry infection to the small towns and villages.
Believe me, the virus has already reached those places. And these latest strains don't muck around: in just a few days, they'll rip through a community.
It's hard to understand why foreign reporters who are still in Beijing or Shanghai haven't worked out that the wave peaked weeks ago. Admittedly, many are on fairly short assignments and are hardly immersed in the community, but they do have Chinese assistants with lots of local friends.
I blame journalists' usual discomfort with numbers and science. We've been ill-served by it since the pandemic began.
Because the wave peaked weeks ago, and because hospitals have been unable to offer anything like enough care, the rate at which people are dying must be quickly falling now. China is simply living with COVID like everywhere else. It also has an immense reserve of really fresh immunity, though we must wait to see how well it copes with later strains.
Many governments, including Australia's, have reacted to the massive wave by imposing restrictions on arrivals from China, no doubt to the general satisfaction of local voters. A disgraceful feature of the pandemic has been the primitive, cave-dwelling instinct of people to close the tribe, to exclude outsiders.
A low point in that was when Australian states closed borders to each other even when they had more or less equally low incidence of infection. Almost all countries have let the virus run amok since the second half of 2021, and strains can hardly be prevented from moving globally, so our new restrictions should raise a questioning eyebrow.
It's no surprise, then, to hear that Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly told the government that special requirements on travellers from China would be unjustified.
This leaves an impression that our politicians are again imposing restrictions not to protect Australians but just to appear to be protecting them.
The Chinese government is upset about such restrictions - yet it has given foreign politicians excuses by refusing to share data about its wave. The Chinese Communist Party just doesn't want to admit that the policies of exalted President Xi Jinping have created a catastrophe.
As for the Chinese economy, December numbers have been dire - of course, since most people were off sick for at least a few days. Maybe factory closures last month will also disrupt production in January. But business should soon be roaring back.
After all, China is finally free of three years of rolling lockdowns, ruthless quarantine and troublesome mass testing. Innumerable businesses failed in those three years but new ones will soon appear, especially now that entrepreneurs no longer fear that health officials will suddenly order the doors close.
Financial markets are likely to detect the change soonest; maybe there will be one of those typically frenzied rallies in Chinese share prices.
If the shares zoom, the commentariat will follow. Overreactions are usual. When China was depressed by pandemic controls, no-one seemed to consider that it would spring back. When it does, people will forget that it has big underlying economic weakness.
- Bradley Perrett was based in Beijing as a journalist from 2004 to 2020.