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Coronavirus - those in China, and general discussion


Jan Finster
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On 4/3/2022 at 4:24 PM, Insectosaurus said:

There is quite a wide span between lockdowns and no restrictions

 

If Omicron is as infectious as the newspapers say, then I don't see what you would achieve with something that isn't a lockdown.

 

I think Shanghai is in uncharted territory? It's hard to think of anywhere else where Omicron has taken hold in a big population with such low levels of immunity (via vaccines and prior infections). If that's true then no one has a clue how it will play out.

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On 4/3/2022 at 8:56 PM, realmayo said:

I think Shanghai is in uncharted territory? It's hard to think of anywhere else where Omicron has taken hold in a big population with such low levels of immunity (via vaccines and prior infections). If that's true then no one has a clue how it will play out.

 

How does Shanghai vaccination rate (especially elderly) compare to other large cities which for a long time avoided the virus? I'm thinking of the Hanoi, Saigon, Bangkok and perhaps a few others. New variant of Omicron seems very mild—Taiwan reported that reopening will continue since new variant has so far lead to 99.7% mild cases. However, as we all know by now, the virus tends to spread among the healthy population before it reaches elderly homes.

 

Edit: I'm thinking the Bangkok spread was possibly before Omicron had arrived.

 

Edit 2: Since it seems to be entering Taipei by now, I guess they are comparable, unless Shanghai vaccination rate is higher.

 

Edit 3: Bloomberg reports 59 percent first dose coverage for 80+ category in China. Wow. I'm guessing it's higher in Shanghai though.

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Not sure why it hasn’t been reported more widely but Taiwan will move to a living with virus strategy. Although an omicron surge will be devasting, at least society will be prepared for it. 

 

https://amp.france24.com/en/live-news/20220407-taiwan-to-move-away-from-zero-covid-strategy-minister

 

 

Shanghai? Expect a prolonged stay at home. Omicron will be really hard to stamp out. 
 

The rest of China had better prepare for omicron. 

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South Korea seem to have come out the omicron surge with a better result than the OECD countries hit early in the pandemic and I'm guessing excess mortality (compared to expected deaths) will not be as high. Japan even more so. The vaccination failure of China and Taiwan sadly can become evident in the coming weeks.

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Does anyone think Chinese attitudes to medicine could be significant here? Seems to me that most Chinese people consider the health implications of everything, what they eat, what they drink, what they wear, as if it's something they have real control over - and maybe this is good, or maybe it's not, I don't know. But does it make it more natural or automatic for people to think, "hmm, vaccine, probably not a good idea for old people"?

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On 4/8/2022 at 1:19 PM, realmayo said:

maybe this is good, or maybe it's not

 

I struggle to see how trusting one's own feelings more than established science would be good in any shape or form. I also think cultural differences won't be able to explain this, since both China and Taiwan have a higher vaccination rate than most European countries. When I look at my fellow Swedes they too care a lot about what they eat and drink.

 

I think more likely explanations are 1) naively thinking covid would never enter China (in part augmented by state communication) and 2) education. Apart from the anti-vaxxers (who seem to be quite few in most countries), a general skepsis toward vaccines seem to be connected to educational levels. I don't know how China have been working with this age group, but they've surely not done enough. Information and initiatives on a local level can get you a long way. Here in Sweden authorities wouldn't move on to the next age group before coverage was satisfactory.

 

One quite sad reason for young people to take so long to go take the vaccine in Sweden was pure laziness. I wouldn't count that out in other countries as well.

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On 4/8/2022 at 7:48 AM, Moshen said:

Why is it that the Chinese government can be so draconian about lockdowns and testing and not equally draconian about vaccination?

 

Good question! I've wondered about that. 

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On 4/8/2022 at 12:57 PM, Insectosaurus said:

Here in Sweden authorities wouldn't move on to the next age group before coverage was satisfactory

 

I think the point (if correct) is that it was the elderly in China/HK who were most reluctant to get the vaccine, and their reluctance was because they thought side-effects would be more dangerous to old people than to young people. I don't think that line of reasoning was a big feature among the elderly in the west.

 

On 4/8/2022 at 3:33 PM, Demonic_Duck said:

the lack of high-efficacy vaccines

 

I don't think any vaccines are highly efficient in stopping you get Omicron. I think there was HK data that showed one of the Chinese vaccines was just as good as Pfizer at preventing serious illness and death.

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On 4/8/2022 at 4:40 PM, realmayo said:

I don't think that line of reasoning was a big feature among the elderly in the west.

 

Perhaps, but the point remains that opening up for the next age group not until the current one has a high coverage was wise, I would say. It increased pressure on local communities to increase information campaigns and stop vaccine skepticism. Sweden have a lot of immigrant areas that had very low coverage, but the regions still chose to prioritize reaching out to them before letting younger age groups get vaccinated. My image of the Chinese state is that they're quite poor at those local initiatives.

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There's lots I don't understand. Scare stories about the side effects of mRNA vaccines, conspiracy theories etc have been circulating for a while and even officially endorsed, and this in a super-controlled information environment is, weird, for lack of a better word. 

 

Plus if the disease is kept out of the country for a long time, vaccinating today might not be ideal because your next encounter with the virus in the wild might be a year from now, so you have a good excuse to wait. But then when it gets in, it's too late.

 

With Covid we've seen politics getting in the way of science and common sense all over the world -- China can't really be an exception after all.

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On 4/8/2022 at 1:48 PM, Moshen said:

 

Why is it that the Chinese government can be so draconian about lockdowns and testing and not equally draconian about vaccination?

 

 

Chinese government is trusted on things like the economy, security, etc. Healthcare? Not so much. I suspect anticipated pushback was a factor - what are you going to do, drag Gramps screaming down the street to give him his jag?

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Honestly, if the PRC can enforce a one-child policy it can enforce a three-vaccination rule. Not that difficult at all in urban areas: no vacc cert you can't enter or leave your compound.

 

Indeed, locking down Shanghai as they have pretty much refutes any "but how could they" argument. They could and they can.

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On 4/9/2022 at 11:01 AM, roddy said:

I suspect anticipated pushback was a factor - what are you going to do, drag Gramps screaming down the street to give him his jag?

 

Mandatory vaccinations come in many forms. Several countries already have it for other age groups. Austria introduced mandatory vaccination for covid (although it was later removed). There was never talk of Austrian police arresting their citizens, it was basically economic sanctions for not getting vaccinated.

 

I still think think local information campaigns and lack of persistence are bigger problems though. Moving on to younger age groups before the older population was covered. Just like Chinese vaccination statistics fooled me, I'm guessing the same incentives worked between provinces. A high vaccination rate looked better than a lower vaccination rate that was higher for relevant age groups.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Well, we're all waiting to see if we get locked down or not. It is interesting though that cnn, bbc shows videos of empty grocery stores in BJ and long snaking around the block covid test lines. All the stores in my neighborhood are full and I have done 3 covid tests this week and have waited about 3 mins for each. 

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On 4/9/2022 at 12:01 PM, roddy said:
On 4/8/2022 at 3:48 PM, Moshen said:

Why is it that the Chinese government can be so draconian about lockdowns and testing and not equally draconian about vaccination?

Chinese government is trusted on things like the economy, security, etc. Healthcare? Not so much. I suspect anticipated pushback was a factor - what are you going to do, drag Gramps screaming down the street to give him his jag?


Dragging Gramps screaming down the street to a 方舱 doesn't seem to be a problem.

 

 


I'm guessing getting the old people vaccinated just hasn't been a priority as 清零 was expected to work indefinitely, or at least until 二十大 was safely over.
What I've heard is that the information given in the state media has concentrated on numbers of jabs and infections and comparing those to the numbers in the U.S. A tutor complained to me that the numbers don't really tell you anything and that they haven't really covered how the vaccines protect you, what the rate of hospitalization or death is for different age groups with different numbers of shots etc. Though they probably haven't had any domestic data on those until now.

There was also an interesting article about the reasons why the elderly in Hong Kong haven't taken the jabs. I believe the reasons are probably similar in the mainland too: https://mp.weixin.qq.com/s/idS2MzHGSlYhrmJCa227LQ

 

The main reasons found in a study were:

  • Insufficient social support (including support from doctors, families and governments) in vaccination decisions
  • Personal psychological reasons (negative self-perception of aging, fatalistic view of pandemic risk, lower health literacy, "live in the moment" thinking, negative perception of Western medicine)
  • Vaccine-related peripheral information processing (focus on negative news coverage of the vaccines, dissatisfaction with the government’s response to potential side effects of vaccines, negative attitudes towards vaccination among peers)

 

They are basically more worried about potential side effects of the vaccines than about the virus and at first they were told by the doctors to just in case not to take the jabs if they were old or had any underlying conditions. And many of the ones who dared to take the first shot were probably convinced not to take any more if they got any symptoms after the first one. I can't really see how you would expect any great vaccination coverage after that.

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Also done a third nucleic test today out in our Shunyi village, took about ten minutes in the queue with both kids, mostly because we had to give our details rather than just swiping a national ID card. Local shops also same as usual. Given the infectiousness of the current variant suppose it's a bit of a crap shoot whether you end up in lockdown or not.

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