Boots on the ground in Shanghai

… actually it might be more accurate to say “boots in the apartment”. I have been WeChatting with a friend who is a professor in Shanghai.

Her university is planning to start classes two weeks late, on February 17, and restrict them to online-only through March 15. Staff were given a holiday through February 10 “but all of our admins seem to be working very hard from home.”

What about food?

Malls are generally open, but only a few of the stores and even fewer restaurants in them are open. They have only one entrance open, with someone checking forehead temperature. Supermarkets, both in and out of malls, are open. About 25 percent of the food stall markets are open, a higher fraction for those that specialize in fancy fruit (popular New Year gifts). Several grocery and restaurant delivery services are working. Almost no other retail open.

Our know-everything-about-China media suggests that the Chinese response to coronavirus has been weak and that an American-style government could have done better, but this sounds to me stronger than anything the U.S. has ever done to try to contain a flu epidemic. The U.S. seems to have responded to the last big one (swine flu) by stockpiling antiviral meds for people who got sick (source). I don’t remember much being done to prevent the virus from spreading.

12 thoughts on “Boots on the ground in Shanghai

  1. US wouldn’t be allowed to take the measures China is. They’re locking anyone up who might be suspect. Watching chinese stuffed into metal boxes & plastic bubbles makes us realize the sacrifice they’re making to protect the rest of the world. Of course, China cured all diseases 5 years ago with CRISPR.

  2. I think it’s safe to say that if any big city in the U.S. tried to institute lock down policies like these, we’d have complete bedlam. Tanks rolling in the streets, people dying in traffic jams, rogue helicopter pilots making illegal flights onto rooftops to evacuate the wealthy, etc. This is a country where the capital has a conniption fit if 1/2″ of snow falls a month early. We wouldn’t last 72 hours without big trouble.

  3. The Wuhan authorities tried to cover up the epidemic, but once the central authorities were informed they took impressive and swift action, probably no other country on Earth could:

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Spotlight/Coronavirus-outbreak/Beijing-Diary-China-goes-all-out-to-fortify-the-capital

    I shudder to think what would have happened if it had started in India. As for our media’s coverage, it’s just the smug tripe we can expect from our infotainment “industry” and its hanger-on pundits.

    • Fazal: This is consistent with what I saw in China during my November 2019 trip. There are a lot of “Cherish Life” messages and, generally speaking, they seem to be much more concerned that nobody get injured or killed in situations where Americans would say “Well, we’re destined to lose at least a few every year” (e.g., climbing around on rocks)

  4. So there is a lot more freedom here to do dumb things and get hurt. Like shoot a machine gun. One of the favorite things to do for visiting Chinese in Las Vegas.

  5. This is a good opportunity to establish telepresence robots in offices. Maybe you can even modify them a little so they can carry a shopping bag? Best way to keep the virus from spreading.

  6. An epidemiologist at a large Baltimore institution (and neighbor) kindly put this together in response to my query about seeing IVs hanging from patients in photographs from China, but little discussion about how patients in the US, for example, are being treated. I expressed concern about Typhoid Mary phenomenon.

    Here goes:

    “Prevention is one thing. Treatment is another. As is commonly the case for viral infections there is no (unlike bacterial infections) specific treatment. This ends up meaning that treatment is “supportive”, meaning help the affected person sustain themselves while their immune system fights the thing off. For example, if it causes a pneumonia sufficiently severe, they may need supplemental oxygen and/or intubation (artificial respiration). An ill person may not have adequate oral intake and become dehydrated which may be treated or prevented by giving intravenous fluids as you mention.

    The big question that remains to be answered is how dangerous coronavirus (officail name apparently is COVID-19) is in the population of people having normal immune systems without other significant health problems like ourselves.

    I think most or at least many infectious diseases cause the occurrence of asymptomatic carriers but I think the extent of this varies greatly from one condition to the other. For example, in the case of measles infected people are at first asymptomatic yet very easily can infect others. I don’t know that it’s established to what extent this occurs with coronavirus.

    So, it’s certainly is warranted to be wary when around a person who has recently been in that part of China especially one who appears ill. There are some who seem more concerned about avoiding stigmatizing Chinese and/or Asian people than they are about minimizing the spread of disease. https://slate.com/technology/2020/02/coronavirus-panic-racist-profiling-asians.html
    Of course it is important that one should not make hysterical assumptions based on the racial background of a person. Like all such things, one should exercise caution soberly, case by case.”

  7. I specifically remember an anonymous swine flu blogger who was supposedly in some high U.S. Public health capacity (blogger name “revere”) who poo-poo’ed every proposal to quarantine or restrict entry as fascist and “it won’t work because science.” A lot of the epidemiology community come from academia and are quite leftist, distorting their views.

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