by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
To hear China tell it, they have barely had any cases of infection from the hyper-contagious Omicron variant. The South China Morning Post wrote yesterday, “so far China has reported nine Covid-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant, including two who were infected by a man returning from Canada.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. is averaging more than 237,000 cases per day, and in the most recent CDC analysis, almost 59 percent of new cases are currently Omicron. If we’re to believe the official figures, the U.S., with about 330 million people, is currently averaging almost 140,000 Omicron cases per day, while China, with 1.4 billion people, is averaging about one Omicron case per day.
Both official figures are unreliable. In the U.S., not everyone who tests positive in at-home test is going to notify public health authorities, and there are probably a lot of asymptomatic people infected with Omicron walking around unaware that they’ve caught the virus.
Meanwhile, the Chinese official health statistics are insanely implausible. Even if we want to give Chinese policies of city-wide lockdowns and quarantining people by welding apartment doors shut the broadest possible benefit of the doubt, it’s simply not plausible that a virus that has proven wildly contagious in every other country suddenly became shy and socially-awkward once it entered the jurisdiction of the Chinese Communist Party.
In recent weeks, Covid-19 cases have increased, and sometimes skyrocketed in certain neighboring countries like Laos and Vietnam. …
… The Chinese claim that Omicron variant simply hasn’t impacted them is even more wildly implausible in light of research indicating that the Sinopharm and Sinovac vaccines are iffy at best against regular Covid and ineffective against the Omicron variant.
Never mind straight answers on the origin of Covid-19 in China; we can’t even get straight answers on the status of Covid-19 in China right now.