This Wall Street Journal report reveals just how very dystopian and deranged is China’s pursuit of zero Covid – a pursuit that, of course, relies heavily on the straw man. (HT Phil Magness) Three slices:
Jane Polubotko didn’t see darkness for almost three weeks.
After testing positive for Covid-19, she was forced to live under 24/7 lighting in a Shanghai exhibition center along with thousands of strangers and the din of their chatter and mobile phones.
The 30-year-old Ukraine national was released from the makeshift government quarantine facility Friday, after three negative tests in the past week. The experience, she said, made her feel like a “Covid criminal.”
Arriving back at her apartment she shares with her boyfriend, Ms. Polubotko said she first let worried friends know she was home. Next on the list: a long, hot shower after 18 days without one at the center. She was relishing the silence and privacy of her home—and being in control of her own bedroom light.
China doesn’t make public the total number of people in its isolation facilities, but official data published Friday show there were more than 270,000 asymptomatic cases nationwide under medical observation. It couldn’t be determined how many are in government centers, and there are signs that, as these fill up, more people are being allowed to quarantine at home.
The policy of sending positive cases into quarantine facilities is contentious, especially since most people have only mild symptoms, if any at all. Some now say they are more frightened of being confined in a fangcang than of catching the disease.
A new survey of adults in New York City suggests that our testing regime may have missed more than 1.3 million cases between January and March of this year. The numbers also suggest that an astonishing 27% of the city’s adults may have been infected during that time.
This massive statistical whiff also means that the official positivity rate — the number by which entire sectors of our economy lived and died for two years, the number that shut schools and sent paroxysms of terror through the media — was near-meaningless as a measurement.
And that, from the start, and particularly since the time vaccines were rolled out, we should have been paying more attention to actual bad outcomes from infection.
That is, hospitalizations and deaths. Those are what matter.
If someone gets a mild flu and recovers in 24 hours, no one panics. But a few asymptomatic COVID cases in a city school were enough, for months, to shut classrooms and trigger insane quarantine protocols.
In other words, we can see the long arm of history reaching from the times of the Black Death to modern epidemics, where coercion and state control are accepted by a terrified public and conveniently deemed by a power-hungry elite to be the only acceptable way to combat natural disasters, even at the risk of tremendous and unnecessary collateral damage. The disastrous response of many countries to the COVID-19 pandemic is merely the latest reminder that increased power during times of crisis will always tempt leaders, and that this temptation must not be left unchallenged by free people.
It’s hard to imagine after the tremendous, world altering displays of incompetence we’ve seen from them over the past two years that public health authorities are somehow getting worse, but here we are