Sunday, 1 May 2022

Hong Kong Covid restrictions, a kind of update

We’ve had stringent anti-Covid measures here in Hong Kong since 6 January. Not exactly lockdown as we can leave the house and go shopping. But everything closed: pubs, bars, hair salons, gyms, even beaches and pools. Supermarket stays  open but restaurants only two per table up to 6 pm. Masks mandatory in every public square, indoors and outdoors. Though everyone is sick of them everyone follows the mandates, sigh….

Last week, 21 April they eased a touch. Gyms reopened, also hair salons, spas, etc. restaurants can stay open to 10 pm. But, weirdly and unscientifically, pools and beaches are still closed. (The government hasn’t answered my letter about this…). Flights are slightly eased but still difficult. The airport operations are at 2% of normal. 98% down. Just take that in. 98% down

It’s all pretty depressing because everyone knows — and says, online — that there’s no rhyme nor reason and the government makes no attempt to explain the bizarre mix of restrictions. They do quote various “experts” most of which don’t seem to be up on the latest research and experience elsewhere in the world. I mean, we’re all armchair epidemiologists now and can do our own research. An expert today, for example, talks about the need for more booster shots, as if there’s no evidence that natural immunity from catching Covid is more effective and longer lasting than vaccines. 

Experts give different views on how to handle the pandemic, showing that there’s no such thing as the science. On Covid, it’s evolving.

Also: restrictions began on 6 January. Omicron wave don’t peak until 6 March. That’s two months later for a pathogen that shows up 5-10 days after exposure. In other words, there’s no connection between restrictions and the shape of the wave. The wave, here and everywhere, no matter the stringency or lack of stringency, is the same. Up quickly and down quickly. If the strict social distancing and masking restrictions here had been effective, the wave would have eased towards the end of January. Not two months later. In fact, the opposite happened. The sharp rise in omicron began after the restrictions were out in place. Why it’s almost as if they didn’t work!… From Our World in Data: