print-icon
print-icon

Shanghai Officials Conceal COVID Deaths At City Nursing Homes Amid Punishing Lockdown

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 31, 2022 - 11:20 PM

As local authorities in Shanghai prepare to start the second phase of the Shanghai lockdown, the western press has seized on reports that the death toll from the omicron-driven outbreak in China's most populous city (and its financial capital) has been even larger than authorities have let on - the latest indication that the numbers being released by China's public-health authorities have been sanitized, and that the true scope of the outbreak is even larger than believed.

An outbreak at a Shanghai home for the elderly has killed a handful of residents in recent days, deaths that haven't been reflected in authorities' official numbers, which haven't reported any deaths in the hundreds of homes for the elderly in the city.

Citing a group of orderlies who had been sent to one of China's quarantine facilities, WSJ reported that an unknown number of bodies had been removed from the facility, where at least 100 positive cases have been confirmed among its residents.

Of course, concealing deaths in the city's nursing homes might strike a chord with Americans, who remember all too well former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo's deliberate under-reporting of the number of deaths at nursing homes in the Empire State during the first months of the pandemic.

In Shanghai, one of the orderlies who spoke with WSJ said they were tasked with dressing the body of one dead patient, an order that made the orderly fear for their safety.

"I was scared to death. I said, 'Look, look, those are for dead bodies,'" another orderly said, recalling the sight of half a dozen hearses parked at the hospital gate at night.

But the orderlies weren't the only sources who spoke with WSJ (speaking with members of the foreign press is, of course, discouraged by the CCP, and these individuals spoke out at great personal risk). Separately, the son of a patient at the hospital said that his father had died within the past week, a friend of the son told the Journal, adding that others who had visited the hospital reported seeing the bodies of at least a dozen deceased patients.

More than half a dozen users on several of China’s major social-media platforms have also posted messages alleging unreported deaths at the hospital in recent days.

Another orderly told WSJ that a surprising number of providers and staffers at the facility had been infected.

"Orderlies, nurses and doctors, we’re all infected," she said.

The facility, Shanghai Donghai, has been around for 20 years, and is run by a state-owned food conglomerate with 1,800 beds and an orthopedics ward that also treats younger patients. It's the city's biggest elder-care facility by capacity, and it reported zero COVID infections in 2021.

But why would local authorities want to hide the number of infections and deaths if they're ordering lockdowns anyway?

Well, as Nikkei noted on Thursday, the reputations of prominent local bureaucrats are being threatened, so they're doing anything they can to mask the severity of the situation to try and salvage their reputations. With the National Party Congress set for later this year, Li Qiang, the Communist Party secretary of Shanghai, is hoping to be elevated to the Politburo Standing Committee, China's most powerful policy-setting body. He's seen as one of President Xi's closest allies, and before the lockdown, he had been expected to move to Beijing and become a vice premier in charge of the economy. Unfortunately for him, the lockdown looks to have disrupted such plans.

Now, those within the party who oppose President Xi's power grab (the party's paramount leader is expected to clinch a third term as leader during the party Congress this fall, making him the first leader since Chairman Mao to break the limit of two five-year terms) are hoping to use the situation in Shanghai to block Li's promotion, depriving Xi of an important ally in the Politburo.

Reflecting the outpouring of  public anger stoked by the Shanghai lockdown (as supplies of food and medicine have grown increasingly strained), one local official told ABC News that the city's leadership failed to adequately prepare.

Ma Chunlei, a senior Shanghai official, acknowledged shortcomings in the city's response. Authorities have rushed to bolster food deliveries to the city after panic buying stripped store shelves of necessities.

"We didn’t prepare sufficiently enough," Ma said. "We sincerely accept the criticisms from the public and are making efforts to improve it."

Meanwhile, city of Shanghai was preparing to reopen the eastern half of the city, and shut its western half, as the staggered 9-day lockdown continues. While Shanghai's lockdown has slowed factory output (a byproduct of lockdowns across China), authorities have decided to lift a lockdown in Jilin Province (the epicenter of China's worst outbreak since Wuhan). Starting tomorrow, locals will be able to move about freely, although they will be required to wear masks and, when indoors, stay 1 meter (3 feet) apart. Public gatherings in parks and squares are prohibited.

0