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Thread: Herding Cats In Beijing : China's "Zero-Covid Policy" and the 2022 Winter Olympics!!

  1. #1 Herding Cats In Beijing : China's "Zero-Covid Policy" and the 2022 Winter Olympics!! 
    Forum Masters Degree Double Helix's Avatar
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    Most people may not know that China is trying to control Covid-19 using what is called a zero-Covid policy. Of course this is in addition to widespread vaccinations.

    The zero-Covid approach is putting a severe strain on the people as it restricts nearly everyone in a village, town or city if only a few cases of the disease are found. Some people are having trouble finding food and other critical supplies due to these lock-downs (1).

    One can only wonder what will happen to all those people when thousands from all over the world converge on Beijing for the Winter Olympics in February (2). It seems highly unlikely that China will be able to contain the virus, especially with the appearance of the Omicron variant. This is particularly true when their Sinovax vaccine (which employs inactivated virus), used to inoculate many Chinese, does not appear effective against the Omicron variant causing Covid-19 (3).

    Time will tell how much damage their zero-Covid policy will have on their economics, and the mental and physical health of its 1.4 billion people, particularly in light of the poor efficacy of their widely used Sinovax inoculations, even with a booster dose.



    "How much longer can China keep up its zero-Covid strategy?"

    1. https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...th-coronavirus


    "A month before 2022 Winter Games, Beijing enacts COVID 'closed loop'"

    2. https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sp...op-2022-01-05/


    "Three Sinovac Doses Fail to Protect Against Omicron in Study"

    3. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...on-study-shows


    Last edited by Double Helix; January 8th, 2022 at 06:11 PM.
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    There appears to be some good news out of China on the development of a protein-based vaccine booster. The new vaccine outperforms the inactivated virus version of their current vaccine (1). This may help a great deal in controlling the spread of omicron if they can get it into enough arms fast enough. If anybody can do it, they can!

    Let's hope they can produce a unique vaccine in mass quantities, which will help to minimize the spread of omicron. If they are going to stick with the zero-Covid policy, they will need some serious improvements in vaccines.

    One should think that producing an inactivated omicron vaccine would be the fastest approach to dealing with the virus. Since the original vaccine worked well with the first variants (2) , and then slowly lost efficacy with other variants that came along, it would seem that inactivated omicron vaccines should be manufactured and administered soon, if they are to deal with this new threat. Two approaches are usually better than one.

    Quoting from 2 (a WHO report) on the initial CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine :

    "A large phase 3 trial in Brazil showed that two doses, administered at an interval of 14 days, had an efficacy of 51% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection, 100% against severe COVID-19, and 100% against hospitalization starting 14 days after receiving the second dose."

    end quote

    So it would seem that inactivated omicron vaccines are optimal for immediate mass production and application.


    "Sinopharm protein-based booster stronger against Omicron than earlier shot -study"

    1. https://www.reuters.com/business/hea...dy-2022-01-07/


    "The Sinovac-CoronaVac COVID-19 vaccine: What you need to know"

    2. https://www.who.int/news-room/featur...u-need-to-know


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    Three weeks since the end of the winter Olympics in Beijing, the cases of Covid-19 in China have been steadily climbing*. On Sunday, 13 March, new cases in China were nearly 3,400, almost double the previous day. This has resulted in lock-downs for many places as the country tries to enforce its zero-covid policy. This new outbreak is driving case counts to their highest levels since the start of the pandemic over two years ago, and by a much more contagious variant - omicron.

    There is no evidence other than timing to indicate the Olympics as the source of the outbreak, but the extent of it suggests that it will be difficult to control. An outbreak in Hong Kong is out of control, with little hope of containing it. Should the outbreak in mainland China continue to expand, it is likely to have a continuing and severe impact on the Chinese people, and on the global economy as lockdowns and restrictions will continue to disrupt supply chains, and health care facilities might be pushed to levels unseen before. Time will tell whether the Chinese can contain this outbreak, and continue its zero-covid policy as successfully as it has for the last two years.


    "China battles worst Covid outbreak for two years as cases double in 24 hours"

    * https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...le-in-24-hours
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    China's zero-Covid policy appears to be failing*. Over 56,000 confirmed cases have been made this month alone, indicating it is only a matter of time before the whole country is fighting the virus, like almost everyone else has for the last two years.

    But the numbers of "reported cases" is only counting those with symptomatic infections. Since those without symptoms are assayed, but not counted in the figures, the spread of the virus is much higher than is being reported. Shanghai is being locked down, with many of its largest manufacturers closing during this period.

    It appears only a matter of time before the entire country is either in lock-down, or undergoing significant mitigation efforts in an attempt to control viral spread. Many of China's elderly are not even vaccinated. We should all hope they can contain the virus, limit the morbidity and mortality, and also limit the number of variants which could develop in its 1.4 billion people.

    While the timing of this surge suggests that the Olympics may have played a role, it was not the games that are the root cause of this problem, in any event. It is caused by the flawed strategy of the zero-Covid policy. Several other countries also tried this for extended periods. New Zealand attempted a zero-Covid policy, and it failed for them, a small, isolated nation which could much more easily control viral spread. All those who have tried this approach have failed. China is the last country still relying on it. It would seem that reliance will not prevent the pandemic from spreading throughout the country, as it has everywhere else.



    "Shanghai starts China’s biggest COVID-19 lockdown in 2 years"

    * https://apnews.com/article/covid-chi...273324fec2c12e
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