Since the Covid-19 outbreak in Wuhan, China more than two years ago, the Chinese government has adopted “zero tolerance” Covid policies and frequently relied on harsh measures such as lockdowns and mandatory quarantines to try to stop the virus.
Most Chinese people chose to comply with the government’s orders and endure any negative consequences quietly. However, in recent days, even the Chinese people have reached a point of “enough is enough” upon learning that a pregnant woman lost her unborn child after a hospital refused to admit her due to its strict Covid-19 policy.
Lockdowns Deny Treatment to Pregnant Mothers
The tragedy took place in Xi’an, a city of 13 million residents. Xi’an has been under a strict lockdown since mid-December. Schools are closed, and most public services are suspended. No indoor dining or outdoor gatherings are permitted. Only one person from each household can go grocery shopping every two days.
So far, the city has reported just more than 2,000 Covid-19 cases (the city likely underreported its case numbers). Reportedly, most cases have been mild, and there is zero death. Still, many hospitals in the city have dedicated their capacity to Covid-19 patients and stopped admitting non-Covid patients, “especially those from at-risk areas.”
Last week, news broke of a hospital that rejected a woman who was eight months pregnant because her Covid test was a few hours too old. Despite her heavy bleeding, the hospital made her wait outside in the cold for two hours before it finally admitted her. She ended up losing her unborn child.
The story prompted a second pregnant woman to report on social media that two hospitals rejected her because of their Covid policies. By the time she got a third hospital to admit her, her baby had already died.
While many Chinese citizens expressed sympathy for her, they couldn’t contain their outrage for the hospitals and, ultimately, the Chinese government’s draconian “zero tolerance” Covid policies. “This is so infuriating,” someone wrote on one of China’s social media platforms. “The death rate of Covid-19 is dropping, while the costs of ‘zero tolerance’ are rising.”
It would be wrong to assume this kind of tragedy only occurs in an authoritarian state such as Communist China. Many western democracies have imposed similar “zero tolerance” Covid policies, which have caused considerable and sometimes irreversible harm. These policies also make democracies indistinguishable from authoritarian states by stamping on people’s freedom.
In Australia, Citizens Defecate in Cars Awaiting COVID Tests
Australia is a perfect example of how “zero tolerance” Covid-19 policies have turned a once-free nation into a tyrannical state. The federal government has closed Australia’s borders since spring 2020, so few people have been allowed to come and go. Australia’s state governments have also closed state borders, preventing most Australians from traveling across state lines.
In addition to strict border closures, Australian states have imposed vaccine mandates and multiple lockdowns, deployed police and even soldiers to enforce lockdown rules, and arrested anti-lockdown protesters. Some states rely on technologies such as facial recognition software to ensure residents comply with mandatory quarantine orders.
Regardless, Australia’s insane “zero tolerance” policies have been largely ineffective, especially against the highly infectious omicron variant.
Bloomberg News reported last week that Australia’s case counts had dropped 100,000 for the first time.
The Australian government’s mandates and the rapid spread of omicron cases have caused long lines outside of testing centers nationwide. Since there are not enough toilets at these testing centers and the wait times have been so long, some people reportedly had to relieve themselves in public, in their cars, or consider wearing adult diapers. That free people in a developed nation allowed the state to humiliate them this way is both embarrassing and depressing.
Do not expect sanity to return to Australia anytime soon. Tennis star Novak Djokovic, probably one of the healthiest individuals on this planet, had his visa revoked by the Australian government and was confined in an immigration detention center in Melbourne for getting an exemption from the Covid vaccine.
Never mind that Djokovic has natural immunity because he recovered from Covid-19 recently. Djokovic was finally set free after a federal court ruled in his favor. But on Friday, Australia’s immigration minister announced the country was canceling Djokovic’s visa for a second time.
In America, Students Stunted and Critical Surgeries Canceled
Here in the United States, we have endured the consequences of our own “zero tolerance” Covid-19 policies. Since clinics and hospitals have restricted the number of visitors in the name of Covid, several of my girlfriends who got pregnant last year had to make all their prenatal visits alone. When one delivered a stillborn baby, the hospital would not allow the baby’s grandparents or any family member other than the woman’s husband to visit her and say their final goodbye to the baby.
Emergency rooms in some states are turning away patients and hospitals are postponing non-emergency surgeries due to staff shortages, partially caused by the firing of unvaccinated health-care workers. Frustrated patients have gone to the ER for non-emergency services and Covid testing, contributing to overcrowded emergency rooms and a long wait for patients who need urgent health care.
The most significant casualties of the “zero tolerance” policies are American children and young adults. Their mental health and quality of learning have suffered due to prolonged school closures and ineffective remote learning. Even The New York Times finally acknowledged that American youth have paid a hefty price, and they shouldn’t have to grow up this way. Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins University slammed elite universities for their extreme Covid-19 policies that “defy science and reason.”
These “zero-tolerance” Covid policies are cruel and harmful, and dangerous because they try to achieve an impossible goal — stopping Covid-19. Even the Centers for Disease Control admits that while Covid vaccines prevent us from getting seriously ill, they won’t stop the transmission of the virus either, and vaccinated people can still get and spread Covid-19. It’s time we accept that Covid is here to stay, and it is one of the many risks in life that we have to learn to live with.
There is little the Chinese people can do to change their authoritarian government’s “zero tolerance” policies. But here in the United States, we can demand an end to these indefensible policies with all the tools our democracy affords us, such as writing open letters, speaking up at school board meetings, or showing up at the ballot box. It is up to us to reject bad policies, protect our children, and get our lives and liberty back.