Speed Reads

No joke

China's massive COVID-19 lockdowns reportedly trapped a woman at her blind date's house

China currently has more than 20 million of its citizens in strict lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but one woman in particular earned special sympathy for being trapped by quarantine orders in the house of a blind date. The woman, identified as Yang, disclosed on Chinese social media that she had traveled to Zhengzhou from her home in Guangzhou, where because "I am getting older, my family introduced me to more than 10 blind dates," NBC News reports.

It was on blind date No. 5 that Chinese officials locked down Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. Wang agreed to meet at the blind date's house last Friday so he could "show off his cooking," Yang told Shanghai's The Paper on Monday. The unnamed date barely spoke but "everything else is great," she added. He "cooks, cleans up, works." Wang later said she had removed some of her social media clips because their popularity had affected her date's life. "It is unclear whether Wang is still stuck at the apartment," NBC News reports. COVID-19 cases are still rising Henan.

The caprice of China's uncompromising "COVID zero" policy may make for the occasional romantic comedy plot — or horror movie, depending — but it's no joke for the people confined to home with little warning. It's also very serious business for President Xi Jinping, Politico's Phelim Kine explained Thursday night. 

Xi "has explicitly branded China's zero COVID strategy as a winning formula that has saved lives, preserved the economy, and made Beijing a safe host for the Winter Games" even as "the rest of the world burned," Kine wrote. "But with Omicron clearly challenging that strategy, both the Chinese [government] and Xi Jinping face a critical credibility loss both domestically and internationally."

Health experts and economists say China's zero COVID strategy "is fundamentally unsustainable," because it "inflicts a cost that is as bad or worse than the 'cure,'" economically and socially, Kine explains. Other countries are starting to learn to live with the virus, but "China can't do that as readily because it would be an implicit declaration of defeat and failure of their much-hyped strategy," and because "relaxing the current COVID control settings would inevitably result in massive numbers of infections and deaths among an under-vaccinated population."

Read more about Xi's dilemma, and China's, at Politico.