A Coming Fall Surge?

Expecting a fall surge The Biden administration is preparing for the possibility that 100 million Americans will be infected with the coronavirus this fall and winter, according to an administration official. That’s lower than the number of Americans who were infected during the Omicron wave in December and January, but still amounts to roughly 30 percent of the U.S. population. Should that scenario play out, my colleague Sheryl Gay Stolberg reports, the administration’s goal is to prevent a spike in hospitalizations and deaths. One way that might be accomplished would…

Inside China’s Zero-Covid Fortress, Xi Jinping Admits No Doubts

China’s leader, Xi Jinping, waved at crowds of giddily cheering students. He held meetings with Olympic Games officials, economic policymakers and European leaders. He toured a tropical island. But there was a revealing gap in Mr. Xi’s busy itinerary last month, exposing the predicament that Covid is creating in a politically crucial year when he hopes to extend his hold on power. He stayed behind the scenes when it came to China’s biggest, most contentious lockdown since the pandemic began. Throughout April, Mr. Xi gave no public speeches focused on…

Under Lockdown in China

At the height of China’s worst Covid outbreak, the authorities in Shanghai took over gleaming high-rise office buildings and turned them into mass isolation centers. Floor after floor, room after room, the buildings were filled with people, their beds arranged in tight rows. Those buildings, and the broader lockdown of Shanghai, reinforced the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s power to marshal resources in its quest to eliminate Covid. But they also fueled deep frustration with the government’s failures and overreach. In eastern Shanghai, police officers in white protective suits clashed with…

Beijing’s Testing Surge

Beijing’s testing surge Beijing is racing to test nearly all of its 22 million residents three times over five days in a high-stakes bid to avoid a similar fate as Shanghai, where millions of residents have been forced into an almost unbearable monthlong lockdown. Today millions of Beijing residents took their second round of tests, and officials from the Chinese capital announced that they had uncovered an additional 46 cases. The city identified three more neighborhoods today as high-risk and four more as medium-risk, designations that both prompt lockdowns. Overall,…

China’s Covid Lockdowns Stir Memories of a Planned Economy

Yang Wenhui should be a proud example of China’s rise from economic rubble to global powerhouse. Growing up poor, he ate so much cabbage that he didn’t touch it again for many years. He worked as a farmer and a construction worker before joining the country’s nascent logistics industry. In 2003, he started his own freight logistics company, striking gold as online shopping took off in the 2010s and products moved swiftly between provinces. Then the Omicron variant started spreading in China. In the government’s zealous pursuit of its “zero…

China’s Widespread Lockdowns Will Bring an Economic Toll

Nearly 400 million people are estimated to be under some form of lockdown in China as officials try to stop a fast-moving Omicron outbreak that is beginning to weigh on the world’s second-largest economy. Hundreds of thousands of people have been sent to isolation facilities in China, and millions more have been told to stay in their homes. Officials in dozens of cities have shut down normal daily life across the country in a race to track and trace the coronavirus and stamp out China’s worst outbreak since the start…

Shanghai’s Covid Lockdown Poses Test to China’s Leadership

shanghais covid lockdown poses test to chinas leadership

Parents have organized petitions, imploring the government not to separate children infected with the coronavirus from their families. Patients have demanded to speak with higher-ups about shoddy conditions at isolation facilities. Residents have confronted officials over containment policies that they see as unfair or inhumane, then shared recordings of those arguments online. As the coronavirus races through Shanghai, in the city’s worst outbreak since the pandemic began, the authorities have deployed their usual hard-nosed playbook to try and stamp out transmission, no matter the cost. What has been different is…

Tourism Begins to Revive in New York, but Not Among Chinese

After two years of sparse crowds in Times Square and other popular attractions, New York City is finally hoping for a robust rebound of visitors this year. But the city will still be missing a main driver of its prepandemic tourism boom: big spenders from China, whose government has yet to allow travel abroad. Before the pandemic, China was the fastest-growing source of foreign visitors to the city, with more than 1.1 million Chinese tourists arriving in 2019. Their impact on New York’s economy was supersized because they tended to…

Wave of Omicron Infections Prompts Lockdowns in China

wave of omicron infections prompts lockdowns in china

BEIJING — Several of China’s largest factory cities have ordered a lockdown, halting production of Toyota cars and Apple iPhones. Theaters, cinemas and many restaurants have closed in Shanghai. The northeastern province of Jilin on Monday banned its 24 million residents from leaving the province or traveling between cities. China is grappling with its largest surge of Covid-19 infections since the coronavirus first emerged more than two years ago in central China. Sustained outbreaks in two-thirds of the country’s provinces are proving the toughest test yet of China’s zero-tolerance coronavirus…

Omicron Reveals Hong Kong’s Covid Dilemma

omicron reveals hong kongs covid dilemma scaled

HONG KONG — The scenes were straight out of China’s coronavirus playbook. Armies of workers, deployed to lock down residents. Plans to erect a massive makeshift hospital. And on Wednesday, a command from Xi Jinping, the country’s top leader, plastered across local front pages: “Make controlling the epidemic as soon as possible an overwhelming priority.” The site of the latest outbreak, though, was not mainland China, but neighboring Hong Kong. And unlike on the mainland, where the government’s lofty language has been followed by quick results, no such relief is…