China is in a real tight spot right now. It wants to maintain #zerocovid for good reason but omicron seems to be so infective and it has some of the densest population areas in the world, and more importantly most of these areas live and work inside where aerosols are most active. 97% of all superspreading occurs indoors and at least 96% via aerosols. This was the big finding of 2020, which led to the use of masks and the contemplation of ventilation.
Unfortunately its significance was missed by a lot of countries. It explains for example why covid 19 has not been such a huge factor in Africa and in some sense India (comparatively speaking).
China has 2 main vaccines CoronaVac and Sinoharm. The efficacies of these vaccines were about 50% and 79% to stop symptomatic illness in mid 2021, just before the delta wave hit the planet. At the time the comparative efficacies of Astrazeneca and Pfizer were 63% and 90% respectively. After Delta the efficacies of Astrazeneca and Pfizer dropped to 70% and 40% respectively. And after Omicron hit their efficacies dropped even more to 40% and 6% respectively, rendering as practically useless. It was found that a booster of Pfizer or Moderna could elevate the efficacy to up to 70% after 2 weeks but this dropped rapidly to around 25% after 2 months and went negative after 3 months.
The mRNA vaccines although a LOT MORE DANGEROUS than the Chinese vaccines are generally more effective, so China is in a situation where it lives like a modern western country (in big cities), but its vaccines are practically useless against omicron. A SURGE in Omicron in China could lead to daily cases in excess of 5 million new cases a day. Australia surged at 100,000 cases a day and China is 50 times our population and their vaccine is less effective. When Omicron hit The world was surging at above 3 million cases a day.
Imagine dealing with that 5 million new covid19 cases a day. Anyone’s hospital system would be overwhelmed, and no matter how great China has been so far, it will be crippled. They have to stay zerocovid or let the virus in through their population in a semi-controlled way like they have done in states in Australia. This itself takes a good 6-12 months to stabilise and even then you are left to live with a constant “virus pool” of about 70 million people who will be constantly infected. Measures like social distancing, masks, care inside buildings, and ventilation will be for life. For life.
I personally think that China is doing the right thing by aiming for zerocovid right now, even if it is hard on the people of Shanghai. A lot more people would die if the virus run out of control. We could easily have well in excess of 50,000 deaths a day, depending on the variant that runs loose. In Hong Kong they had The subvariant BA.2.2 and a case fatality rate (CFR) = deaths/cases as high as 2-3 % for awhile. That could mean 100,000 to 150,000 deaths a day in China. Maybe even more. Shanghai, where they are having an outbreak right now, Shanghai officials said that only 38% of residents over 60 are fully vaccinated. Imagine dealing with the carnage of an uncontrolled or even controlled outbreak.
It is universally accepted now that the virus was made in the Wuhan lab. although we are not suer who by, the Chinese of the Americans, and then the question of who released it, and whether it was an accident or deliberately as a bioweapon, and by whom is a mystery. It has been found that at least 16 insertions where made/changed on the spike protein to make it more infectious to humans and to make fro asymptomatic cases too (so it could spread worldwide). The point I wanted to make is that the virus through mutation is losing a lot of it designed insertions. It is as if the virus is trying to throw away its artificial changes to return to its natural form where it is less virulent. Omicron is a crossover/recombinant of the Wuhan strain and the common cold so this is rapidly deescalating the potency of the virus. Perhaps another one of these would render it even less virulent. I think this is what the Chinese are thinking, but it is going to be hard to keep this virus out, and there is not guarantee the virus will become less virulent. The alpha strain is proof of that, even though it is generally true that a virus weakens itself through mutation, but not always. We have an addition problem here in that with a 100 million (and this would double if it was let loose in China) people in the “virus pool” we not only have mutation by crossover as well. Crossover can take one to a completely new virus almost and it could well be deadly. We were lucky that the original strain crossed over with the common cold to give is Omicron.
Ps. China could get the mRNA vaccines and quickly vaccinate everyone, like Australia did, but it won’t work, because you need to vaccinate in stupid disorderly fashion like Australia to do it quick enough and that will spread the virus. Then the vaccines are not so good anymore and you need a booster every 2 months just to stay positive efficacy. PLUS, China knows, as west knows too but does not care, that the spike protein is the bioweapon.