COVID-19 Coronavirus Update: Thursday / Friday, Jan. 6-7


Link to Johns Hopkins tracker:

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The BBC is maybe a little too pleased to highlight another country’s covid problems…

Two years on, after numerous strict lockdowns across China, some are asking how such mismanagement and lack of planning can still be happening – and if authorities have learnt anything at all.

“There has never been any serious discussion on what lessons we have learnt from Wuhan, there has been no debate. The narrative has just been about the success of the Chinese model versus the ineffectiveness seen in Western democracies,” Professor Yanzhong Huang, a senior fellow in global health with the Council of Foreign Relations, told the BBC.

The only thing officials have learnt would be dealing with an outbreak with a blunt zero Covid strategy, he added.

China’s top-down policymaking has meant that when local officials are assigned broad targets, “they often have no alternatives but to rely on heavy-handed, one size fits all approaches in getting things done”, as seen in the extreme measures seen in Xi’an.

This has resulted in “overreaction or overshooting… in dealing with even a small number of cases”…

Chinese government on a local level is decentralised, and many local officials have been “set very ambitious goals of having zero Covid, but get very little central government resources” and not much power to deal with an outbreak when it arises, points out Professor Donald Low, an expert in Chinese governance with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

This has meant that “on the one hand, local officials cannot singlehandedly lock down a district, but on the other, they are required to organise food delivery to more than a million residents at short notice,” wrote China studies professor Christian Goebel of the University of Vienna in an online analysis.

But the larger problem is the diminishing returns of the zero Covid policy.

Experts warn that as Covid evolves and more transmissible variants emerge, it could lead to increasingly harsh measures to maintain the same level of suppression.

Though zero Covid still has widespread support, people’s patience will only be stretched thinner…

India’s daily COVID-19 cases jumped to 117,100 on Friday, a five-fold increase in a week and on course to overtake its previous infection peak as the fast-spreading Omicron variant replaces Delta in cities.

Government officials have privately said they are working under the assumption that daily infections will surpass the record of more than 414,000 set in May, given what has happened in countries such as the United States where daily cases recently rose past 1 million…

Nearly 70% Indians had been exposed to the coronavirus by the middle of last year, while an almost equal proportion of adults have been fully vaccinated as of this week.

Health officials in the capital, New Delhi, and the state of Maharashtra, home to the city of Mumbai, which together account for the bulk of new cases, have said hospitals and testing infrastructure have yet to come under pressure as many people are recovering quickly at home.

In Mumbai, about quarter of all tests are positive but fewer than a fifth of those who have contracted the virus have needed hospitalisation, Maharashtra Health Minister Rajesh Tope told reporters…

Delhi, where daily cases have risen by more than five times in a week, goes into a 55-hour lockdown from Friday night to Monday morning.

Authorities have also imposed a night curfew on weekdays, closed schools, and ordered most shops to open only on alternate days when there is no curfew.

India’s COVID-19 deaths rose by 302 on Friday, taking the total to 483,178. Total infections stand at 35.23 million, only fewer that the U.S. tally of about 58 million.

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To be fair, you can’t cure anthrax with ivermectin, either:

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