Due To The Extreme Heat, China's Zero COVID Policy Poses A Risk To Front-Line Health Care Workers
Because of the extreme heat, China's zero-COVID policy has become much harder and more dangerous for front-line health care workers.
Right now, China is getting hit on two fronts: the heat and the rise in COVID. It could be hazardous for people who work in medicine.
A scary video that has gone viral in China shows COVID testers getting sick, with several getting heat stroke. During the recent heat wave, they had to work outside for long hours in those big safety suits.
After the Wuhan outbreak at the beginning of 2020, China put everyone on lockdown for 76 days. Even though it was horrible, it stopped the COVID-19 virus from spreading in 2020 and 2021. Two years after a 60-day lockdown this spring, Shanghai reopened on June 1. Only 29 cases were reported during that time.
People are worried that as long as China's Zero-COVID policy stays in place, epidemics will continue to cause sudden lockdowns or other extreme restrictions, messing up everyday life. Even after Shanghai reopened, about 133 million people were still on lockdown in 16 cities, and epidemics kept happening.
This testing scale costs billions of dollars, the same as or more than 1.5 percent of China's GDP. China's unwavering Zero-COVID strategy has had substantial and long-lasting effects on the country's social, political, and economic life.
Social media is full of people who are fed up with strict and harsh treatment, and China's economy has frozen up even more than it did at the beginning of 2020. When something goes wrong with the economy, it affects the rest of the world. Prices go up, and supply chains get messed up.
This heat wave is causing much trouble in China, where people are still hurting from the brutal COVID-19 lockdowns. Because the Omicron sub-variants are so contagious, China is seeing another rise in COVID cases.
Because of this, at least 30 cities in China are now wholly or partially shut down. This extreme heat wave is making it harder for people locked up or stuck in their homes and those who work on the front lines of healthcare.
As hot weather moves across China, COVID testing on a large scale becomes dangerous. The footage shows COVID workers leaving the job because of heat stroke.
In eastern China, a COVID worker throws up on the ground as her coworkers rush to take off her hazmat suit. She has to be taken away because she can't stand up. In China, this happens all the time.
Official media said COVID workers worked long hours in suffocating heat, which was made worse because their head-to-toe protective gear was not water-resistant. They would faint, fall to the ground, and struggle to breathe. The hazmat suit this worker is wearing is wet with sweat.
Sweat builds up inside the protective gear that goes inside their rubber gloves. As the temperature goes up, so does the number of crimes.
You need a rapid COVID test in China to enter any public place, even in Beijing. That means people of all ages and health statuses will have to wait in long lines in the hot sun.
It's challenging and wears you out. And you worry a lot because you must do things to stay alive.
COVID workers are coming up with creative ways to stay calm, like hugging and putting big blocks of ice on their backs, laps, and feet. Coworkers rub ice together and tape bottles of ice-cold water to each other. Some authorities say that COVID workers can now wear personal protective equipment (PPE) that does not cover their whole bodies.
At the same time, crops are dying because of the heat. The land was cracked and dry. Damage to China's food production could cause prices to go up, which would hurt an economy that the epidemic has already hurt.
There have been record high temperatures in several cities. Last week, more than 80 places sent out red alerts, some of which had temperatures of more than 110 degrees Fahrenheit.
The roof of a museum in the middle of China melted, so the museum had to close. People in Nanjing could get out of the heat by going to underground air raid shelters.
On the other hand, even health care workers hospitalized because of heat exhaustion are given a positive spin by the government. In this propaganda movie, high-ranking government officials visit COVID workers in the critical care unit, where sick people are lying in bed. People are motivated by the video to work together to beat COVID.
In some parts of China, the weather is starting to get cooler, but experts say that the worst is yet to come. They predict that the weather will get worse in the coming months. Also, this heat wave in China comes after destructive floods that forced millions of people to leave their homes.
The current heat wave is mainly caused by climate change. It is becoming a top priority for the Chinese government, which has been woken up by the recent steady rain of weather-related events.
But now the question is if it's too late.