Ailia, a former high school teacher, was distraught when her 85-year-old father passed away after COVID-upset-like symptoms as the virus spread over Jiangxi province in the region where they were born.
Ailia and her mother were both proven positive around the same time, and she feels that COVID upset was the cause of her father’s death even though he was never tested.
Beginning on January 21, hundreds of millions of Chinese will travel to be with their families for the Lunar New Year holiday. Many will do so after paying tribute to relatives who perished in the COVID-19 wave that ravaged the country with the greatest population.
Anger at what they claim was a lack of planning to protect the elderly before China abruptly abandoned its “zero-COVID” policy in December 2022 after three years of testing, travel restrictions, and lockdowns are common among many people who have experienced a loss.
Ailia, 56, claimed that she had backed the openness of the economy, just like many other Chinese. Late in December, a few weeks after China lifted its COVID upset limitations, her father passed away.
We wanted the truth to come out, but not in this way, she stated over the phone, “not at the expense of so many old people, which has a significant impact on every family.”
China announced on Saturday that there had been almost 60,000 COVID-related hospital deaths since the end of “zero-COVID,” a 10-fold increase from earlier statistics. However, many international experts claim that this figure is an undercount, in part because it excludes people who passed away at home, like Ailia’s father. 90% of those who died were 65 years of age or older, and the average age was 80.3, according to a Chinese official on Saturday.
Many analysts have claimed that China missed an opportunity to better prepare its populace for reopening by mostly containing COVID-19 for three years, especially its hundreds of millions of elderly citizens. China dismisses these claims.
The lack of therapeutic medicine supply and poor vaccination of senior individuals were among the shortcomings mentioned.
More than 90% of Chinese adults over the age of 60 had received vaccinations as of Jan. 6, according to a Chinese official, but as of Nov. 28, the most recent date for which data was available, only 40% of adults over the age of 80 had received booster injections.
If only the resources utilized to combat the virus were also used to protect the elderly, lamented Ailia, who, like many others interviewed, chose not to use their full names due to the delicate nature of criticizing the Chinese government.
The need to protect the elderly has been emphasized frequently by Chinese officials, who have announced a variety of initiatives, from vaccination drives to the creation of a task force in Shanghai, China’s largest city, to identify high-risk groups.
After sporadic, large-scale street protests against the policy in late November, Beijing decided to end “zero-COVID.” However, public criticism of China’s handling of the lifting of COVID upset limits has primarily been made through severely regulated social media.
Several commentators claimed that China’s handling of COVID had reduced public trust in the government, particularly among urban residents of the upper middle class, but they did not believe that President Xi Jinping or the Communist Party was in danger as a result.
CHAOS and rushed
Lila Hong, 33, a marketing employee for an automaker, was in Wuhan three years ago when the pandemic there first began.
Although her family survived the terrifying initial phase when nothing was known about the coronavirus, two of her grandparents and a great-uncle passed away last month after contracting COVID-19.
Hong remembers going to a packed Wuhan crematorium with her father to collect her grandparents’ ashes; this was a somber but typical experience during China’s COVID upset.
The atmosphere ought to have been somber and reverent. You picture it that way, but in reality, it was more like standing in line at the hospital, she added.
I’m not saying that reopening is bad, Hong said. “I just feel that they could have given more time for planning.
A 66-year-old man from Beijing with the last name Zhang reported losing four family members—including his 88-year-old aunt—to the illness since the beginning of December.
He claimed that, like other people, he thought the events following her passing were disorganized, hurried, and out of character.
“No one has had the chance to bid their loved ones goodbye. At the least, we should be allowed to have a decent death if we can’t live a decent life “added he.
It makes me sad.
BREACH OF TRUST
All but one of the seven bereaved family members who were interviewed by TradingTwist for this piece indicated that COVID was not listed on the death certificates of their loved ones, despite the fact that they believe it was a major factor in their demise.
Family members expressed doubts about the reported mortality numbers, with some citing a loss of faith in the government following the three years of “zero COVID” pandemic control.
Student Philip, 22, from the Beijing-neighboring Hebei region, backed the anti-lockdown demonstrations in November but feels let down by the way the reopening has been handled and accuses the government of being incompetent.
They appear to have unlimited power, yet they failed to perform as expected.
“I believe he would have to resign if he were the CEO of a firm,” said Philip, who lost his 78-year-old grandfather on December 30.
He recalled, “The hospital didn’t have any effective medicine.” There weren’t enough beds, and it was really packed.
After his grandfather passed away, another patient promptly took his place in bed after his body was removed.
“The medical staff was quite busy. They appeared to be creating death certificates on a regular basis and distributing copies to loved ones. It’s a terrible tragedy that there were so many deaths.