Saturday, April 9, 2022

Lockdown Diaries: I am Okay, Shanghai is Not

Posts about the covid outbreak in Shanghai, China:

Complete list is here: Index of Posts About the March 2022 Shanghai Covid Outbreak

On the Current Covid Outbreak in Shanghai (March 12)
I'm in Lockdown (March 16)
I'm Still in Lockdown (March 19)
I'm in Lockdown Again (March 25)
Now All of Pudong (East Shanghai) is in Lockdown (March 28)
Lockdown Diaries: Covid Case in Our Complex, and Free Veggies from the Government (March 31)
Lockdown Diaries: Antigen Self-Tests, and Children with Covid (April 3)
Lockdown Diaries: Dressing Up, Free Medicine, Free Rice (April 6)



Here's the updated timeline:

March 16-21: First lockdown. 6 days.

March 23-now: Second lockdown. 18 days and counting.

Nucleic acid tests (conducted by baymax, ie, the workers in white hazmat suits): 11 times (March 16, 17, 19, 20, 23, 26, 28, 30, April 4, 6, 9)

Antigen self-tests: 4 times (April 2, 3, 8, 9)

(Yes, today [April 9] they had us do the self-test in the morning and the nucleic acid test in the evening. It's a bit much.)

(The above info is specific to our apartment complex. Other apartment complexes in Shanghai will have a similar situation but not exactly the same.)


Pet dog killed

[trigger warning]

This was all over WeChat this Wednesday (April 6). A pet corgi was beaten to death, after the owner tested positive and the owner was taken to a quarantine center. 

(CNN article: A Covid worker beat a dog to death in Shanghai after its owner tested positive)

People here are outraged. This is terrible and there's just no excuse. It is NOT OKAY that the government hasn't issued a clear policy about what happens to pets when people test positive. We've seen similar news stories from other Chinese cities, where pets were killed. I was like "that wouldn't happen in Shanghai" but I was wrong.

I follow some pet boarding companies and vets on WeChat- they have posted A LOT about what you should do if you test positive. Basically the advice is you get a pet boarding company to send someone to come get your pets, and they will keep them while you're in quarantine (which could be up to 30 days maybe). But this is expensive, obviously, and also there could be problems, like if your apartment management is being unreasonable and they won't let you hand off your pets to someone outside the apartment complex. 

Yeah, this is wrong.

We have recently seen news that Shenzhen, a city in southern China, is opening a pet care center for pets whose owners are in quarantine. People are saying that Shanghai should do the same... though honestly I have my doubts about the quality of care there for the pets, since it's, ah, how shall I put this, the quarantine centers for people in Shanghai have had problems, how much worse would it get when it's animals...



So, I continue to be fine. Like I said before, in our apartment complex, we can get plenty of vegetables, meat, and rice. There isn't much choice, you just get whatever random vegetables you get, but at least we aren't worried about not having a meal.

But I have heard from other people who said their apartment management is not allowing anything to be delivered. HOLY CRAP. Apparently, there is concern that you can get infected through receiving deliveries of food. Like, wtf? Even if that's true and there's a risk of getting covid, come on, you can't just not let people have food.

So it really depends where you are. In our apartment complex, our building leader posts in the group every day to say there's meat available to buy, or vegetables or whatever, and that's a reliable way to get food. But other places, where the apartment management people are unreasonable, it's a huge problem.

And yesterday (April 8), I saw a post shared on WeChat- I guess it went viral, because I saw the same post shared by lots of people- it was titled "求救!" which I will translate as "Help!" and it was written by someone in Shanghai who has barely been able to get any food delivered at all. It described the situation, how they know so many people who don't have enough food right now.

It said, maybe one might think we have no problem getting food in Shanghai, because we see pictures on social media of the free vegetables people received from the government. But, if even 1% of the people in Shanghai (population 25 million) are having problems getting food, that's 250,000 people- so even if you see the nice photos of vegetables that some people got, this is still a huge problem affecting a lot of people.

I guess this "250,000" statistic really affected me a lot, kind of made me realize that even though I am fine, things are really really bad here.

Anyway, this post mysteriously disappeared later. 

But other posts have popped up with similar problems. People who can't get food. Old people who need to take medicine regularly, and can't get their medicine delivered. They pop up faster than they can be censored.

And other problems related to food: I heard that some deliveries that had meat in them were sitting outside for hours, and then the meat wasn't safe to eat. I saw some videos of trucks full of vegetables, sent from other provinces to help Shanghai, but the trucks were delayed and the vegetables rotted. I guess in any kind of big disaster-relief situation, things are changing too fast and the system breaks down at various points, and things are wasted like that... but how did this become a "big disaster-relief situation"? How did it get this bad?

I hope this food-delivery-situation is starting to turn around- there have been articles in the news (okay, official government news sources, so they spin it like everything is fine) about how the government is now permitting more warehouses to be open and to ship food to people, and how 2000 to 3000 new workers have been hired to deliver the food.

And actually, yesterday and today I received some things I ordered from Jingdong 1-2 weeks ago. Jingdong is an online shopping app, I guess like Amazon, and usually things will be delivered the same day or the next day, but for about 1-2 weeks they weren't delivering anything at all. I had like 10 orders I hadn't received. Well the past few days, I have received about 20% of the things I ordered 1-2 weeks ago, so that's... something? Kind of a good sign?

Still don't know how much help that will be to people whose apartment management doesn't want them to get any deliveries at all.


Shanghai is doing a bad job of this

I hear A LOT of things on WeChat. Yeah, it's social media, you can't believe everything you read, but there's enough there that you can see the general patterns, how many systems are failing. Some examples of things I've heard or seen in the news or have experienced:

Someone said they know a family that tested positive for covid, and was taken away on a bus, and had to stay on the bus overnight because there wasn't room in the quarantine centers.

Some people have neighbors who tested positive a week ago, and have just stayed at home this whole time- nobody came to take the covid-positive people to the quarantine centers. And actually now they're testing negative. So... if they don't go to the quarantine centers at all, does that mean they won't be counted in the official statistics? (Because we have noticed that there is a delay in when the covid cases are reported in the news- it ends up being the date that the person was admitted to the quarantine centers, rather than the date they tested positive. We know this because in the news articles they also publish the addresses of the apartment complexes where the positive cases were. We knew there was a positive case, but didn't see our address listed in the news until several days later.)

And people have been talking about how unbelievable it is that in Shanghai- Shanghai!- people aren't able to get food. This is Shanghai! China's financial hub! One of the wealthiest cities in China! Sophisticated! World-class! Prosperous! Technologically-advanced! Metropolitan! How could this happen in Shanghai

Oh also, today they rolled out a new system for registering for the nucleic-acid test, and guess what, it has a lot of problems! Apparently this afternoon the whole system crashed and people weren't able to get on it. (I had already registered and screenshotted my QR code, so that crash didn't affect me.) And it doesn't have an option to register a child who doesn't have a Chinese ID card. Anyway, tonight when we went to do our nucleic acid test, the apartment management was telling everyone to bring your ID cards just in case the new system doesn't work and they need to type in your information manually.

Also apparently the nucleic-acid test tonight was originally supposed to be tomorrow, but they changed it to today... That seems like... what they would do if they found way more positives than expected in the results from the self-tests this morning...

And now 3 Shanghai government officials have lost their jobs because they are doing such a bad job with this covid outbreak. (The linked article gives a good summary of the situation right now in Shanghai.)

Remember a few months ago, when Xi'an had a covid outbreak, and they did a really bad job handling it, and we all judged them? Well now Shanghai is doing that bad too. I really didn't think this would happen- I thought, Shanghai does a good job with logistical things and hasn't had any noteworthy covid outbreaks in the past 2 years, just a case here or there which is contact-traced and 2 weeks later nothing comes of it. Well, turns out I was wrong.

Arrgggh. I mean, I'm fine, but like the viral post said, even if it's only 1% of the population having these problems, that's 250,000 people.


A few links:

Shanghai Avoided Covid Disaster for Two Years. Now We’re Locked Down. (April 5, New York Times) I like this because I can tell the writer actually lives in Shanghai and knows what's what. Not like the way I see it talked about in most western news sources.

The day I caught covid in China! Wow... This is a blog written by someone who is in one of the quarantine centers, and it's really bad there. The conditions there are awful.


Next post: Lockdown Diaries: Part of Shanghai is Out of Lockdown

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