Hong Kong

Modellers Predict 1.5 Million Deaths in China if Lockdown is Lifted – But that is Less Than Half the U.K. Covid Death Rate

It appears that China has its own version of lockdown doom-modeller Neil Ferguson and his team. A paper in Nature from a team of Chinese and U.S. researchers has used a model to predict over 1.5 million deaths in China from Omicron should the country cease to impose its brutal controls. The following is from the South China Morning Post.

China could see more than 1.5 million deaths from a wave of Omicron infections without COVID-19 controls and the use of antiviral therapies, a new study has forecast.

A model by Chinese and U.S. researchers suggested that, given China’s vaccine efficacy and coverage, an unchecked outbreak that began with 20 cases of Omicron in March could “generate a tsunami of COVID-19 cases” between May and July.

Such an outbreak is projected to cause 112 million symptomatic cases, or 80 cases per 1,000 people, with 2.7 million of them requiring treatment in intensive care…

The researchers used a mathematical model to simulate a hypothetical Omicron wave in China based on data from the Shanghai outbreak.

“Should the Omicron outbreak continue unabated, despite a primary vaccination coverage of more than 90% and homologous booster vaccination [boosting with the same vaccine] coverage of more than 40% as of March 2022, we project that the Chinese healthcare system will be overwhelmed with a considerable shortage of ICUs,” they wrote.

They estimated that the peak demand of 1 million intensive care beds would be almost 16 times the existing total of 64,000 beds, with a shortage lasting 44 days.

Hong Kong Sends Traditional Chinese Medicine to Three Million Residents Telling Them it Works Against COVID-19 – But the Evidence Says No Such Thing

Imagine the joy of three million people in Hong Kong when, this weekend, they received their “United we Fight the Virus” kits. It is not clear why the remaining four million were deprived of these kits but, given that I know a leading nursing academic and his family who received theirs it may be that the remaining population are considered dispensable. The kits contain COVID-19 rapid tests and KN95 masks and two packs of a traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) called Lianhua Qingwen Jiaonang (LQJ) which will, allegedly, “clear scourge, remove toxin, diffuse the lung and discharge heat”. Apart from the fact that the Legislative Council of Hong Kong has not bothered to ask a native English speaker to check the above description of the purported action of LQJ, it appears that it has also not consulted anyone with any knowledge of medicine – real medicine – what any of that means.

“Clear scourge” is simply Chinglish gobbledegook; “diffuse the lung” is biologically meaningless and “discharge heat” defies the laws of thermodynamics. Whether or not LQJ is capable of the claim that it will “remove toxin” is another matter. But, notwithstanding that if something is “removed” it must go somewhere which is not specified, at least this is testable. In terms of “removal”, in conventional medical terms this means metabolic removal by “first pass” metabolic breakdown in the liver, commonly engaging the services of a liver microsome enzyme known as cytochrome P450. Otherwise, toxins are removed by the kidneys and excreted in the urine. How LQJ is involved in that process is unknown.

Lest the Hong Kong recipients of the Covid kits are in any doubt about when to use their supply of LQJ, they are advised that the indications are that it can be used for: “Patterns of heat toxin assailing the lung, manifested as fever, aversion to cold, muscle soreness, stuffy and runny nose, cough, headache, dry and sore throat, reddish tongue, and yellow or yellow and greasy tongue coating.” All they needed to add was ‘feeling a bit iffy’ and ‘having the sniffles’ and they would have had a full set of vague symptoms that would turn even the most resilient person towards the medicine cupboard.

‘Zero Covid’ Lunacy Drives Brain Drain From Hong Kong

Hong Kong has been suffering a brain drain after years of enduring first anti-democracy crackdown and more recently Zero Covid lunacy. The Telegraph has the story.

The brain drain that Hong Kong is suffering from as tens of thousands of mainly middle-class, educated professionals seek to escape has become so extreme that even Carrie Lam, the city’s Chief Executive was forced to acknowledge it this week.

“It’s an unarguable fact that we have a brain drain and some senior management of some corporates have left Hong Kong,” she said on Wednesday.

Ms. Lam tried to blame it on the city’s coronavirus restrictions, which have isolated the city with 21-day quarantines on arrival, flight bans and shut infected people away in sparse Government facilities. 

But the city has seen more and more people leaving ever since the turbulent pro-democracy protests of 2019.

Hong Kong’s population plunged at a record pace in the 12 months that ended in June 2021, officially putting it at about 7.39 million.

The Myth of the Hong Kong Covid Disaster

Covid alarmists are reporting on the situation in Hong Kong, claiming it proves them right in the measures they have backed over the past two years.

The latest reports are of overflowing morgues and a shortage of coffins. Here’s the report from MailOnline.

Morgues in Hong Kong are overflowing with bodies after a deadly Covid wave has forced workers in hazmat suits to dump corpses in shipping containers. 

Workers in full PPE gear were seen moving bodies covered in black tarpaulin from a truck into rows of shipping containers outside Fu Shan Public Mortuary on Wednesday.  

Hong Kong has recorded nearly a million infections and more than 4,600 deaths less than three months after the highly transmissible Omicron variant broke through. 

The bulk of the deaths has been from the city’s unvaccinated elderly population.  

A funeral industry representative told local media the soaring death toll had seen a crunch in the city’s coffins supply, with only 300 remaining and expected to be gone by the weekend.

Leader Carrie Lam acknowledged the supply issues during a press conference Wednesday, and said two more shipments of coffins will arrive in Hong Kong from the mainland soon.

The shocking images come just five days after bodies were seen lying abandoned on stretchers next to living patients in a Hong Kong hospital.   

A medic working at the hospital told Hong Kong Free Press the photo was taken inside the Accident & Emergency ward of Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Hong Kong and circulated on Friday.

The photo, reportedly taken in early March, showed six body bags lying on stretchers as bed-bound patients struggled to prop themselves up. 

Deadly Omicron Surge Hits South East Asia Despite High Vaccination Rates

South East Asian countries are experiencing their deadliest Covid waves to date despite the milder Omicron variant being dominant and high vaccination rates.

Here are the double-vaccination rates in South Korea, Japan, Singapore, Thailand and Hong Kong, plus New Zealand, with the U.K. included for comparison.

The graphs below show record highs of reported infections in each of these countries, particularly in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and New Zealand. They also show record levels of Covid deaths in South Korea, Japan and Hong Kong, though not yet in Thailand and Singapore. New Zealand has hit record deaths, though at a low level so far. Japan’s and Singapore’s curves (infections and deaths) appear to have peaked, whereas South Korea, Hong Kong and New Zealand are still on the way up. Thailand’s reported infections appear to have peaked but not yet deaths.

More News From Hong Kong, Where ‘Zero Covid’ is Still the Official Policy

We’re publishing a second dispatch from our anonymous Hong Kong correspondent, this time focusing on two recent reports in the local media. Together, they present a picture of a city that is gradually being crushed under the boot of Communist dictatorship.

Your readers may be interested in a further update on Hong Kong? At a time when most other countries are either removing or at least reducing Covid regulations and requirements, why is Hong Kong moving in the opposite direction?

I attach one notice and two articles from today’s South China Morning Post newspaper:

The above notice is the diagramatic instruction, English version, to all 7.5 million Hong Kong residents about how ‘Dynamic Covid’ is to be implemented from today.

The two articles include the following:

(President) Xi instructed Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her team to mobilise all available forces and resources and take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of residents and the stability of society, according to reports splashed on the front pages of the Beijing-backed newspapers Wen Wei Po and Ta Kung Pao.

He demanded the Hong Kong Government take primary responsibility for the fight against the virus while ordering the central Government departments and Guangdong province to promptly address Hong Kong’s requests. His forthright tone has clearly demonstrated Beijing’s worries and its dismay about Hong Kong’s response.

Making public his instruction is significant on several levels. The first aspect is to impress on the Hong Kong Government the need to take more decisive actions to contain the outbreak; the second one is to stiffen the spines of local officials in dismissing the thinking behind, and lobbying for, the policy of living with Covid – favoured by many residents including civil servants at a time when the rest of the world has opened up; the third one is to remind officials of the need to bury their differences and get 100% behind China’s dynamic Zero-Covid policy.

And like truckers the world over, our truckers have their problems too:

Pressure on Hong Kong’s Hospitals Due to City’s Insane ‘Dynamic Covid Policy’

A couple of days ago, we published a post about Hong Kong, asking why its hospitals are under such pressure when the city is currently reporting extremely low infection and death rates. A reader and Hong Kong resident has provided the explanation.

Just caught up with your Daily Sceptic item on Hong Kong.

The reason it looks horrendous – patients on trolleys outside hospital etc. – is because of Hong Kong’s official “Dynamic Covid Policy”. This involves anyone testing positive being immediately sent to hospital despite the authorities acknowledging that 90% are either asymptomatic or not really sick. Compulsory hospital stays are then 21 days irrespective of severity.

When Hong Kong had few positive test cases, there were enough hospital beds. The recent relatively large surge in people testing positive (as opposed to being very sick) has simply overwhelmed hospitals with people who do not need to be there.

The first fallback was to send positive persons to the designated Government quarantine facilities. These soon filled up, like the hospitals. Today, 4,000 hotel rooms have been allocated with a further up to 40,000 hotel rooms in preparation. There is a large waiting list for these rooms with positive test people told to stay at home and wait for further instructions. From today we have 300 official Covid licensed taxis that you call to take you to your quarantine facility. They were fully booked within 10 minutes!

The good news – if you are actually sick – is that there will therefore now be a hospital bed. If you are not sick, but test positive, you can look forward to an enforced stay in a hotel room at taxpayers expense with no windows that open and only allowed to open the door to take in food left on the floor outside or to take a test in the doorway.

It’s really great to live in such a “dynamic” and safe place as Hong Kong.

Hong Kong’s Hospitals Are “Overflowing” – But Why, When Reported Cases and Deaths Are So Low?

It’s being reported that Hong Kong’s hospitals are at capacity and overflowing with patients during the current Omicron wave. For example, Sarah Newey (from the Gates-funded Global Health Security team) at the Telegraph writes:

Hong Kong is battling a record Covid surge that threatens to overwhelm the city’s hospitals, with several hospitals already reported to have run out of space. 

The crisis is being blamed on the arrival of the highly contagious Omicron variant and relatively poor vaccinations rates.

On Tuesday Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, warned that a fifth wave of infections has “outgrown our capacity”, as dramatic photos emerged showing dozens of patients waiting for care on medical beds outside A&E departments. 

Makeshift tents have also been set up to treat people, while health authorities warned that several hospitals are already operating at over 100% capacity. 

It comes as the city reported 1,619 new cases on Tuesday, according to official data, plus around 5,400 preliminary positive infections. This is on top of 2,071 new cases on Monday – the highest daily count since the pandemic began. 

As recently as the end of January Hong Kong was reporting fewer than 100 daily infections, but some medical experts have warned this figure could skyrocket to almost 30,000 in March. 

“The problem we are facing is given the magnitude, the pace of and the severity of this fifth wave, it has outgrown our capacity,” Ms Lam told reporters. 

She added that while there are currently no plans for a “widespread city lockdown”, the situation would be continuously reviewed given the “severity and speed of this latest wave”.

Ms Lam also doubled down on Hong Kong’s ‘dynamic zero’ strategy which seeks to introduce strict, localised measures to curb transmission – much like the policy still in place in mainland China. So far, the city has reported 26,000 infections, including a little over 200 deaths.

Here are the three photos that accompany the story.

Hong Kong Approves China’s Covid Vaccine for Three to 17 Year-Olds

The territory of Hong Kong has approved the use of China’s Sinovac Biotech Covid vaccine for three to 17 years-olds, with the Secretary for Food and Health, who believes that the benefits of the vaccine outweigh the risks posed to this group, announcing that “adolescents aged 12 to 17 years-old will be accorded priority”. The Guardian has the story.

Hong Kong has approved lowering the age limit for the Covid vaccine from China’s Sinovac Biotech to three, down from 18 years of age.

Hong Kong’s Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, said in a statement published on Saturday: “Adolescents aged 12 to 17 will be accorded priority to receive the vaccine, with a view to extending to children of a younger age group at a later stage.”

She considered the benefits of approving the extension of the age eligibility to cover those aged three to 17 years-old outweighed the risks, the statement said.

A Hong Kong Government advisory panel on Covid vaccines had earlier recommended that the Minister approved the new age limit, it said.

The extension of the age eligibility comes after Hong Kong’s vaccination campaign, which started in February, has lagged behind many other developed economies. About 67% of the population have received two shots of either Sinovac or Germany’s BioNTech vaccine.

Hong Kong’s Government said in separate statement on Friday that it had purchased 1 million extra doses of BioNTech vaccine for third dose Covid vaccinations.

Worth reading in full.

JP Morgan Executive Avoids Hong Kong Quarantine Rules Because He Runs “a Very Huge Bank”

The Chief Executive of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon, entered Hong Kong without following the territory’s mandatory 21-day hotel quarantine law. Carrie Lam, the current Chief Executive of Hong Kong, mentioned that the reason for Dimon’s lenient treatment was because he manages “a very huge bank” with “key business in Hong Kong”. The Guardian has the story.

Dimon flew into Hong Kong on Monday on JP Morgan’s private jet, becoming the first Wall Street bank boss to visit the territory or mainland China since the pandemic began.

Questioned about why Dimon was allowed to enter the territory without complying with Covid rules, Lam said: “The justification is related to the economy, as this is a very huge bank with key business in Hong Kong. He needed to come and work for about a day in Hong Kong. But there are restrictions, including restrictions over his itinerary, so the risk is completely manageable.”

Hong Kong is pursuing a zero-Covid strategy alongside China, and has imposed some of the world’s strictest travel rules to keep the virus out. Measures include mandatory hotel quarantines of three weeks for any resident returning from the U.K. or U.S., regardless of vaccination status, followed by seven days of self-monitoring. Tourists and most non-resident visitors are banned from boarding flights to the city.

During his visit, Dimon told Bloomberg that the strict quarantine policy “does make it harder” to attract and retain talent in the territory. The local American Chamber of Commerce said in May that 40% of its members were considering leaving the territory because of the restrictions.

JP Morgan said Dimon would spend only 32 hours in Hong Kong, and the visit was to thank staff for their hard work during the pandemic and hold meetings with regulators.

Worth reading in full.