Sta Hungry Stay Foolish

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

A blog by Leon Oudejans

China: from zero to max Covid?

Late 2022, China confirmed two corona fatalities after abandoning its zero-Covid policy (WSJ). If true, this would indeed support its policy shift. The new official total in China amounts to 5,241 deaths on a population of almost 1.5 billion. Hence, 0.000360% in China versus 0,0835% globally.

On 14 December 2022, the WHO published a new estimate for global corona fatalities: 14.83 million versus the official 6.7 million (eg, Forbes, Nature). Hence, 0,185% on a global population of 8.0 billion people rather than the previous 0,0835%. Moreover, 99.815% did not die of Covid.

In my view, the new WHO corona mortality estimate of 0,185% is (still) based on the official China statistics.

The WHO estimate for the rest of the world of 0.23% is almost equal to my global estimate of about 0,25% mortality.

Fortunately, c. 99.75% did not die of Covid-19.

How about the missing nearly 3.6 million deaths?

I suppose most of these missing 3.6 million Chinese deaths already died in the years 2019 to late 2022.

Why did China shift from zero to maximum Covid? In my view, these reasons may apply:

  1. Most of the 3.6 million deaths already happened in 2019-2022.
  2. Maximum Covid-19 will affect (unproductive) seniors most (ie, senicide).
  3. Maximum Covid-19 may “explain” shrinking Chinese demographics (eg, FT, April 2021).
  4. Chaos may hide “problems” in Chinese leadership (eg, Nikkei, WSJ).
  5. When 95+% of cases are asymptomatic (eg, FT, Reuters) then a “forest fire” helps “ending” Covid.
  6. A (brutal) government response to prior anti-government corona-related protests.
  7. A late attempt to end its economic crisis (eg, Foxconn letter).
    In my view, several – or all – of the above reasons may apply.

I suppose it’s about (brutal) political risk management. The downside of zero-Covid was huge (eg, economy), while the upside was minimal after 4 years (ie, 2019-2022). My assessment is that pragmatism won from ideology in China.

Ultimately, the Chinese president will claim the (ideological) success of this (pragmatic) policy shift, albeit once proven successful. Still, this pragmatic Chinese policy shift has weakened its president’s ideological position. China is playing with fire in order to escape its many (self-inflicted) crises.

Working with Fire and Steel (1983) by China Crisis
band, lyrics, video, Wiki-band, Wiki-song

Note: all markings (bolditalicunderlining) by LO unless in quotes or stated otherwise.

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