A COVID-19 patient on a gurney at Tianjin First Center Hospital in Tianjin, China, on Dec. 28, 2022. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)
The Epoch Times
If the world can learn one thing from the COVID chaos in China, it is that “locking down does not work,” said healthcare policy adviser Dr. Scott Atlas.
“We don’t even know really the extent of the harms to their population that they inflicted by locking down but we know anecdotally that there were massive harms to people—they couldn’t get food, they couldn’t get their own medications, people were imposing a completely uncivilized, almost animalistic way,” Atlas, a previous White House special coronavirus adviser and contributor to The Epoch Times, said in an interview.
For almost three years, China’s ruling regime has imposed a severe zero-COVID strategy, using strict lockdowns, centralized quarantines, mass testing, and omnipresent surveillance to contain the virus’s spread, leading to many residents being deprived of basic living needs, and some even dying from a lack of care.
“This is a massive human rights violation,” Atlas said.
“All of their policies imposed on their public,” he said, referring to China’s communist party (CCP), “is an example of one of the most extraordinary violations of human rights that we have seen in modern history.”
‘Flies in the Face of Common Sense’
The ill-prepared policy U-turn followed an exponential surge of cases that was quickly overwhelming the country’s health system.
World Health Organization emergencies director Mike Ryan noted during a global health briefing on Dec. 14 that this wave of COVID-19 now seen in China is not due to the lifting of COVID restrictions, as it started long before any easing of the zero-COVID policy.
“I think that it’s very important to recognise that,” he said, adding, “The disease was spreading intensively because I believe the control measures in themselves were not stopping the disease, and I believe that the Chinese authorities have decided strategically that that for them is not the best option anymore.”
Contrasting the few death cases the authorities have reported—11 since the easing of COVID curbs earlier this month—was mounting anecdotal evidence suggesting that the virus is fast spreading in Chinese cities and fatalities are rising. Hospitals and funeral homes have been filling up, with backlogs of bodies awaiting cremation.
The Chinese numbers, Atlas said, are “absurd” to think of.
“This just completely flies in the face of common sense,” he said.
“No one should believe the counting method that is reported by China,” he added, noting that to “save face and justify their reckless harmful lockdowns,” the regime would “necessarily have to say they had fewer deaths.”
“I don’t know how anyone would think that they have transparency on how they’re counting.”
The lack of data from China has been so concerning that it have driven the United States to impose a new travel curb mandating COVID tests for travelers from China.
Lockdown Success ‘Fantasy’
That the regime has been “lying about the numbers” from the beginning, Atlas said, poses a troubling question.
In January 2020, after suppressing whistleblower doctors and journalists trying to sound warning about the emerging virus, China became the first world’s country to shut down cities in response to COVID-19 spiraling out of control. As the virus spread, the lockdown method that Beijing insisted was effective was then quickly copied by other countries around the world, such as the United States.
Atlas, an early lockdown critic, has previously enumerated the toll such that policies inflict on the public, from learning loss and mental health damage to rise in substance abuse.
“There was this false belief that somehow China had ‘beaten the virus.’ This was a completely absurd lie—a fantasy.”
It was a lie that Atlas believes policymakers “blind to science” bought without question.
“It’s one thing that it’s a society like China [that] imposes the draconian policies on its on its public, because that’s what totalitarian societies do,” he said. “But it’s another thing—it’s extraordinary that governments of supposedly ‘free societies’ would attempt to impose these sorts of policies on the public—and even more sad is the acquiescence of people to such policies.”
“It’s a horrible indictment of American leadership to emulate a totalitarian society like China.”
Separate from the fact that locking down can’t get rid of a virus, there are two things that the world hasn’t grasped about the CCP’s “inhumane policies,” Atlas suggested: “The true failure of their policies and the massive harms on their own people.”
“The worst thing for China, or any totalitarian society, is to have people start start realizing that the government policies are failures, because the only reason that the totalitarian societies exist is they have power.”