Zero COVID-19 is a goal the world continues to chase. However, the Chinese government thought any draconian means were justifiable given the imperative end. As the Winter Olympics approach, Beijing is subject to substantial restrictions to ensure China receives its moment in the global spotlight. However, the cost of this policy continues to grow exponentially as it spreads into the global economy.
A fine line exists between cruelty and containing the COVID-19 pandemic. In China, reports have emerged of patients being denied critical medical care because they live in an area with higher virus transmission. Recently, a man burdened with chest pain died from a heart attack after being denied hospital care. A pregnant woman lost her baby after her COVID-19 test was not considered acceptable for admission into the hospital. While hospitals need healthy staff to care for patients, turning patients away undermines why the medical sector is needed. A heart attack is preventable in the right medical environment. Therefore, medicine should not take steps backward to contain COVID-19.
The Chinese government has raised a force of nationalism committed to suppressing anyone who defies authoritarian policies. Lockdowns happen suddenly, without warning. Residents who leave their homes for groceries are attacked by the government’s enforcers. The government also has nationalists verbally confront people on social media platforms. Clearly, many Chinese citizens and residents do not favor this policy. However, the will of the government trumps all concerns. People are starving, but the Chinese regime does not examine all issues that arise during a pandemic.
With the global supply chain disrupted, China only exacerbates the issue by shutting down ports and factories after discovering a few COVID-19 cases. The ripple effect of this decision spreads far beyond China and the United States.
With goods becoming more difficult to obtain, inflation will continue to persist at record levels. Obviously, this continues to place an economic burden on families struggling to acquire essential products. With the Federal Reserve contemplating potential economic intervention strategies in the United States, China’s actions could lead to a recession if interest rates are increased.
While stopping the spread of COVID-19 is an admirable cause, the Chinese government has gone to the extreme. The authoritarian style of enforcement violates human rights.
Everyone should be concerned about the abuse of power present in the world today. In the larger view of the world, wearing a mask is not an extreme mitigation effort. Life could be incredibly more difficult. A crisis can become a distraction from the real problems present within society.
Additionally, if part of China’s motivation is ensuring the Olympics are held in the coming weeks, the International Olympic Committee should develop their own solutions. COVID-19 did not exist when Beijing was awarded the 2022 games. The committee is complacent by allowing China to continue violating human rights for economic revenue and nationalist glory.
Stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus is a worthy cause deserving attention. However, the world must not lose sight of the infinite number of human needs. Staying home for two weeks is not realistic for all individuals. With numerous variants, COVID-19 is now part of daily human existence. Zero COVID-19 is an unlikely proposition after two years of surges.