CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Lauded the Success of China’s ‘Really Strict’ Lockdowns
A little over a year ago, Rochelle Walensky—then a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, now the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)—gave an interview to WBUR in which she noted the purported successes of lockdown policies in authoritarian countries.
“To give you a sense of what lockdowns were able to do in other countries—and, I mean, really strict lockdowns—in China, their death rate is three per million,” she said, lamenting that the death rates in comparatively lax Sweden and the U.S. were much higher.
Whether China’s “really strict” lockdowns can truly be deemed a success largely depends on whether that government’s reported COVID-19 cases and death totals are accurate—an important question, given how much the Chinese Communist Party has already lied about the pandemic—and whether it will ever be possible to relax them. More than a year after Walensky sounded an admiring note, China’s pandemic authoritarianism is still in full-swing; despite sporadic shutdowns of entire cities, the country has not completely stamped out of the coronavirus. Dozens of new cases are reported everyday, and again, it’s difficult to say if those numbers represent undercounts. At every stage of the pandemic, Chinese government officials have misled their own citizens, and indeed, the rest of the planet, about the virus.
But even if China does have COVID-19 under control, harsh pandemic mitigation measures exact a steep price in return. One Chinese town bordering Myanmar was recently locked down by the government, and what followed was brutally repressive:
Residents left starving inside makeshift quarantine centers fashioned out of shipping containers. Businesses forbidden from selling goods – even online. A baby reportedly tested for COVID 74 times.
Earlier this year, his wife went to work one morning, only to be forced to find somewhere else to stay for a 45-day quarantine after the city district was sealed off because of a handful of cases discovered nearby. She was rounded up and told to shelter in place, with no date of release and no regular supply of food. Wang says he was finally able to get her out by asking a well-connected friend to bring her to a hospital on medical grounds, after which she did another two week hotel quarantine before being allowed to return home.
Yet despite the anger in Ruili, most people in China support the country’s strict pandemic prevention policies, despite their huge economic cost and the risk of being suddenly quarantined or tested during frequent contact-tracing investigations. Local governments are under enormous pressure to ensure no infections crop up; officials who fail are often publicly shamed and fired.
People unlucky enough to test positive or — more commonly — cross paths with a close contact can find themselves ensnared in successive and expensive q
Article from Reason.com