Daily Column – 9th April 2022

Shanghai, a city of 25 million people, will spend another Saturday in lockdown. They’ve been there for more than a week.

They aren’t happy. Because the pandemic is more than two years old and effective vaccines are widely available, the extended lockdown is straining residents’ patience with their government’s extreme “Zero Covid” approach. This is even more true in a city like Shanghai, which is cosmopolitan and economically important.

Angry residents have been complaining about not having enough food and other important things on social media. Pregnant women who had HIV tried to get help after being turned away from a hospital.

Protesters at a Shanghai housing complex who didn’t want to be locked down sang, “We want to eat!” and “We want to be free.” That video was taken down by the company that makes technology.

How bad is Covid there?

This is the worst outbreak in China since Wuhan in 2020. The Omicron variant is to blame for this. Since March 31, more than 131,000 cases have been found in Shanghai. On Friday alone, more than 21,000 new infections were found. So far, there have been no deaths in the wave.

This is a lot of cases for most of the world. China, on the other hand, doesn’t seem to mind. A pandemic is one where people are told to stay at home and get rid of as many infections as you can count on your hands. So, it hasn’t had to deal with the high death rate that other countries have. But by sticking with this strategy in spring 2022, it’s put itself at risk from people who say these policies are more harmful than the disease itself.

Shanghai is trying to keep its factories and ports running through workarounds, like having employees sleep at their jobs. You can’t just shut down a major global city without causing some kind of economic damage, though. You can expect to hear people in the U.S. cry when they talk about China’s Covid strategy on their next earnings calls.

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