Shanghai Under COVID Lockdown—Would US Cities Go for It Again?

April 7, 2022 Updated: April 7, 2022


Looking back at the unprecedented economic lockdowns and draconian mandates during the more than two-year-long COVID-19 pandemic, many U.S. citizens could hardly posit a return to a similar state of affairs.

This is especially true given the flood of information now pouring out about the deleterious economic, physical, and psychological consequences that lockdowns have had (and will continue to have) on the American populace.

Of course, this is no attempt to discount or disparage the people around the world who struggled with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus, up to and including death. But those who choose not to imbibe the virtue-signaling talking points of the mass psychosis-inducing mainstream legacy media are indeed done with the phony “if it only saves one life” policy ploy.

We will struggle to understand the full impact of these decisions on ourselves, our economy, our political system, and our children for at least the next half-century. A definitive answer to the question of whether the cure was worse than the disease will remain elusive in the abstract but pretty clear for those who are forced to live with the ramifications of our leaders’ choices in their personal lives.

The powers that be—government authorities, health institutions, media, and tech giants—have all shown their hand: politics always takes precedence over real people.

When these principles are allowed to guide all of a society’s policymaking without the friction of popular resistance from below, the logical conclusion is an authoritarian police state in which the freedom of all is sacrificed for the enhanced security of some.

Nowhere has this dystopian reality become more fully manifest than in CCP-led China under its “zero-COVID” policy.

Epoch Times Photo
People line up for nucleic acid testing at a residential block during a citywide COVID-19 testing campaign in Shanghai, China, on April 1, 2022. (Zhang Suoqing/VCG via Getty Images)

Shanghai is the latest case study in this hypochondriac-engineering societal schemata. With cases spiking at over 13,000 on April 5, the city has chosen to extend lockdowns that were scheduled to end on April 8. Testing in Shanghai is mandatory for all of its 25 million residents. This major metropolitan area accounts for over two-thirds of China’s total cases.

An even more important point is that most of these cases are asymptomatic, which is expected when a government uses its authoritarian power to mandate that all citizens submit to testing regardless of health status or age.

And as is to be expected, the CCP virus has had an exacerbated impact on those most at risk. There have been large-scale outbreaks in two of the city’s elderly care hospitals, according to reporting by The Wall Street Journal. A large percentage of the elderly population has apparently not been vaccinated against the CCP virus, the report said.

Quarantining has been occurring, although questionable room choices are brought up in the article, such as the medical staff purportedly putting patients who tested negative for the virus in with individuals with confirmed infections. Shanghai’s government has not responded to the accusations.

Epoch Times Photo
People with mild and symptomatic cases of COVID-19 are quarantined at the Shanghai New International Expo Center in Shanghai, China, on April 1, 2022. (Ding Ting/Xinhua via AP)

Despite wielding all of its tyrannical power to crack down in an ostensible bid to reduce the virus’s effect on society, has the CCP still exhibited malfeasance in protecting Shanghai’s most vulnerable citizens?

Maybe. But additionally, is it also possible that the notion of completely reducing the spread of one of the most highly contagious respiratory diseases in the modern era is a faulty presumption, to begin with?

Instead, perhaps a better approach would be to provide ready access to medical care and abundant health-related resources to the areas that are high in at-risk demographics.

This flawed strategy isn’t necessarily endemic to China, though. The United States has had its own negative experience with nursing homes and COVID patients.

Former Democratic Governor of New York State Andrew Cuomo also failed to protect some of the most vulnerable citizens in his state from the worst effects of the outbreak while simultaneously kneecapping the (small, local) business environment in New York.

Perhaps the problem is, in reality, endemic to the proponents of heavy-handed government control generally. Unqualified belief in the ability of centralized authority to solve society’s problems inevitably leads to tyrannical overreach. The antithesis of this secular faith is always curtailed freedom and unintended harm to those that a policy purports to help.

Even in Shanghai, citizens are losing their patience with the CCP policy as access to food and medical care is increasingly limited. The city is a major financial hub and has subsequently suffered from the inability to have normal daily operations.

Factories are also closed as manufacturing and industry take a severe hit. The impact on the global supply chain is something that even those in the United States and Europe are learning to understand all too well.

Shoppers rummage through empty shelves in a supermarket before a lockdown as a measure against COVID-19 in Shanghai, China, on March 29, 2022. (Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Democratic policymakers who have a penchant for CCP-style governance are far from loosening their hold over the reigns of societal control in the United States. They have learned that they can continue amalgamating power and punishing political dissent under the auspices of “public health.”

Consider that New York City Mayor Eric Adams has recently announced that he is extending the city’s mask mandate—for preschoolers. Given what we have learned about the virus, it has become clear that the latter group does not constitute a high-risk demographic.

Covering the faces of developing children while the rest of society adopts a more voluntary approach to masking begs the question: how exactly is this about saving lives?

Questioning these choices is related to more than just the ability for an individual to perform a cost-benefit analysis over a health danger and its potential impact on our lives and the lives of our families, independent of a government authority.

We as a society cannot unsee what we have witnessed during the over two-year-long pandemic. Lockdowns, mandates, and restrictions predicated on selective science and mass psychosis have entirely reset the country as we know it. We now know that those who deem themselves our political, intellectual, and moral betters salivate at wielding the type of power that the CCP currently holds over Chinese society.

But in their excitement over the potential for accruing power provided by a public health crisis, these same individuals made a mistake. They overstepped and did not expect the blowback and resistance of the American people. They do not actually know any “people” outside the Washington beltway or the greater New York metropolitan area.

Their premature giddiness has exposed their true beliefs, designs, and intentions. Those paying attention will never countenance a return to the pandemic’s repression, intolerance, and shame.

Hopefully, the current situation in Shanghai will be another step on the road to the Chinese people recognizing the oppression that they are living through and undertaking the noble struggle of throwing off the yoke of the CCP.

Here in the United States, though, we’ve seen where the “Great Dream” leads—and we refuse to fall asleep ever again.

Views expressed in this article are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Dominick Sansone is a PhD student at the Hillsdale College Van Andel Graduate School of Statesmanship. He is a regular contributor to The Epoch Times, and has additionally been published at The American Conservative, The Federalist, and the Washington Examiner.