THE DELTA VARIANT has been defeated. Scientists in China have just demonstrated that it takes a month and a half to turn that huge, out-of-control threat into a small, controllable one.
This is not to say that it won’t come back repeatedly (as it is trying to do in Shanghai this weekend) — but the knowledge that a six-week process can get a nation out of immediate danger is huge.
There are now just a handful of local cases daily in China, the South China Morning Post reported
By any measure, this should be one of the biggest news stories in the world, but no international media organization is highlighting it.
Reporters may be looking the other way, but doctors in two tiny places have noticed what just happened: New Zealand and Hong Kong are trying to copy China’s rigorous methods, Hong Kong successfully, New Zealand less so.
1) So, how exactly do mainland Chinese health specialists do it?
On detection, you react immediately with widespread lockdowns, mass testing, and strict quarantines. Repeat until Delta is dead.
2) Wasn’t there some outbreak at a Chinese airport that spread it across the country?
Yes, it started at the airport in Nanjing. There have been no cases in the city since August 13 and the airport is now reopening.
3) Is Hong Kong right to be super-strict?
Yes. Scientists say that population density in the southern Chinese city is so high that Delta would spread across large numbers of people in minutes.
4) Wasn’t there some scandal about Nicole Kidman getting to visit Hong Kong with no quarantine?
Yes, but pretty much every place has VIP exemption lists for people making a significant positive effect on the economy, including the home countries of people criticizing Hong Kong for this.
5) But I thought Western countries like the UK were way ahead in vaccinations?
It’s not a race, and you can’t directly compare a large, rural, developing country with smaller rich ones. But if you want figures, here they are: In Shanghai and Beijing, more than 80% of adults have been double vaccinated. In London, about 67% have had at least one dose.
Covid vaccination sets made of paper are starting to appear in funeral shops in East Asia. The pictured set (below) was found by Khang Vu in Vietnam. It even comes with two doses. The idea is that you burn it to send it up to dead relatives.
Never too late for a covid shot… I guess!
Main image: picture of smiling Asian woman at the top by Joel Mott/ Unsplash