Shanghai shutdown puts dent in business, but not COVID


CHICAGO (NewsNation) — In China, millions have been locked down for 12 days with no end in sight as new COVID-19 variants are still spreading.

In Shanghai, China’s largest city, there’s no one to be seen as even factories have shut down.

The turn of events has led to thousands filling makeshift hospitals in what may be the world’s largest quarantine center, made up of 40 thousand beds.

These hospitals include infected children now forced to be separated from their parents.

Additionally, food and medicine are in short supply, all while China doubles down on its zero-COVID policy to “find, test, trace, isolate and support.”

However, it appears locking down big cities is turning out to be painfully ineffective against the variants, and it’s also bad for the economy.

Major companies including Apple and automakers such as Tesla have increased production at other plants to make up for the shutdown in Shanghai.

Tesla suspended work at its Shanghai factory on March 28 without setting a date for restarting production. And Volkswagen said two of its factories in China are closed — all adding to massive supply-chain problems around the world.

Still, despite the 26 million locked-down citizens, China has reported 21,000 new cases. 

“I mean, actually, I think that’s a very important point you make, because economic and social aspects of life are also part of public health,” Dr. Monica Gandhi, infectious disease expert at the University of California, San Francisco, told NewsNation’s “Rush Hour.”

“All of this is part of holistic global health,” she said.

Meanwhile, U.S. cases continue to drop. 

“Overall, cases are going down around the United States,” said Dr. Dana Hawkinson, infectious disease physician, the University of Kansas Health System, in a press conference this month.

His statements confirm studies conducted by infectious disease experts who have been watching developments in China closely and are encouraged by the latest numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“I looked at those every day — and I was like, Oh good … we are rounding this curve. Let’s see what happens with these new variants,” said Dr. Mario Castro of the University of Kansas Medical Center.

According to these experts, the variants are the issue, as the omicron sub-variant ba.2 is at least 50 percent more contagious than omicron, but with much milder symptoms.

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