‘More People Will Be Killed by Lockdown Than by COVID-19’: Shanghai’s Top Pandemic Expert

The Chinese communist regime’s “COVID Zero” policy and strict pandemic control measures have caused numerous tragedies and mass complaints. Shanghai has been under lockdown for more than two weeks and humanitarian disasters have been frequently reported on social media.A video has been circulating online in recent days, in which Shanghai’s top epidemic expert Zhang Wenhong points out that the number of people who died because of the lockdown will far exceed the number of people who die of COVID-19, if the lockdown continues. “If the hospitals do not resume services, the death toll from other diseases will be far higher than the death toll from the COVID-19,” he said in the video released on April 13, which was liked by many netizens. Zhang said, “How long can the whole city be put on pause, and can we afford it? Everyone has nothing to eat or drink, there is no place to buy vegetables, and if you are sick, you can’t go to the hospital to see a doctor. A lot more people will die because of that than caused by COVID-19.” “Moreover, if hospitals don’t resume services, cancer patients cannot undergo chemotherapy and surgery, people infected with other diseases cannot be treated, and trauma patients cannot be cared for. In this case, I believe that patients who die from other diseases are far more than the COVID-19. So I think it’s reasonable to resume work and everyone should return to normal life as soon as possible,” he said in the video. [embedded content] Zhang was the head of Shanghai’s pandemic prevention expert team. His last public appearance in that position was at a press conference on March 25. He suggested “targeted prevention” and against lockdown, and Shanghai had been following this policy, which is similar to the “co-exist with the virus” strategy that Western countries have now been practicing. However, Shanghai implemented a total lockdown on March 28, and Zhang has been criticized by official media that support “COVID Zero” policy and lockdowns. When Zhang re-appeared in public on April 9, he was only referred to as an “expert of the Shanghai Pandemic Prevention and Control Medical Treatment Team.” Zhang’s points and suggestions in the video are shared by Chinese medical experts and rights activists. Shanghai-based lawyer Peng Yonghe told The Epoch Times on April 15 that the core issue mentioned by Zhang in the video is to ensure accessible medical services so that patients can receive effective treatment for things other than COVID-19 during the pandemic control period. “If you ignore life, your policy cannot protect life. [If] people who are sick cannot be treated or left to die, then your policy must be adjusted,” he said. The Chinese regime’s harsh “COVID Zero” policy has caused civil backlash. Ji Xiaolong, a resident of Shanghai Pudong and a rights activist, posted on social media on April 12 “The Pandemic Prevention Policy Should Be Determined by a Medical Experts Group—An Open Letter to All Shanghai Citizens,” calling on an elected expert group by citizens to decide the pandemic prevention and control policy, instead of communist officials. Ji told The Epoch Times on April 14 that there are more than 40 top-tier hospitals in Shanghai, and all of them have been evaluated by authoritative departments and are trusted by people. Dr. Zhang Wenhong is a recognized expert in one of the hospitals. All medical staff in each hospital should anonymously elect a medical expert in a process monitored by the public, and jointly set up an expert group. He said: “The pandemic prevention opinions jointly formulated by these experts in the group have the confidence and trust of the citizens. We do not believe in the government, and we do not believe in the leader’s personal command and deployment. We believe in experts.” A resident looks out behind a gate blocking an entrance to a residential area under COVID lockdown in Shanghai on April 13, 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters) Shanghai medical experts have expressed similar opinions to Zhang’s. Zhu Weiping, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Shanghai Pudong New Area, said in a recording of a conversation with citizens that asymptomatic COVID patients and patients with mild symptoms are best isolated at home, and never should go to a quarantine shelter. She said that professionals are also “being driven crazy” under the lockdown and that no one listens to what they say, because “now this disease has been turned into a political matter.” Xu Huiliang, a 75-year-old retired doctor in Shanghai, issued an open letter using his real name on April 11, making a number of suggestions to the Shanghai municipal government for pandemic control, including ensuring the open access of the EMSS (emergency medical service system) during pandemic prevention and control to avoid and reduce casualties and humanitarian disasters caused by the control measures. He also recommended that people who tested positive for COVID-19 be allowed t

‘More People Will Be Killed by Lockdown Than by COVID-19’: Shanghai’s Top Pandemic Expert

The Chinese communist regime’s “COVID Zero” policy and strict pandemic control measures have caused numerous tragedies and mass complaints. Shanghai has been under lockdown for more than two weeks and humanitarian disasters have been frequently reported on social media.

A video has been circulating online in recent days, in which Shanghai’s top epidemic expert Zhang Wenhong points out that the number of people who died because of the lockdown will far exceed the number of people who die of COVID-19, if the lockdown continues.

“If the hospitals do not resume services, the death toll from other diseases will be far higher than the death toll from the COVID-19,” he said in the video released on April 13, which was liked by many netizens.

Zhang said, “How long can the whole city be put on pause, and can we afford it? Everyone has nothing to eat or drink, there is no place to buy vegetables, and if you are sick, you can’t go to the hospital to see a doctor. A lot more people will die because of that than caused by COVID-19.”

“Moreover, if hospitals don’t resume services, cancer patients cannot undergo chemotherapy and surgery, people infected with other diseases cannot be treated, and trauma patients cannot be cared for. In this case, I believe that patients who die from other diseases are far more than the COVID-19. So I think it’s reasonable to resume work and everyone should return to normal life as soon as possible,” he said in the video.

[embedded content]

Zhang was the head of Shanghai’s pandemic prevention expert team. His last public appearance in that position was at a press conference on March 25.

He suggested “targeted prevention” and against lockdown, and Shanghai had been following this policy, which is similar to the “co-exist with the virus” strategy that Western countries have now been practicing. However, Shanghai implemented a total lockdown on March 28, and Zhang has been criticized by official media that support “COVID Zero” policy and lockdowns. When Zhang re-appeared in public on April 9, he was only referred to as an “expert of the Shanghai Pandemic Prevention and Control Medical Treatment Team.”

Zhang’s points and suggestions in the video are shared by Chinese medical experts and rights activists.

Shanghai-based lawyer Peng Yonghe told The Epoch Times on April 15 that the core issue mentioned by Zhang in the video is to ensure accessible medical services so that patients can receive effective treatment for things other than COVID-19 during the pandemic control period. “If you ignore life, your policy cannot protect life. [If] people who are sick cannot be treated or left to die, then your policy must be adjusted,” he said.

The Chinese regime’s harsh “COVID Zero” policy has caused civil backlash.

Ji Xiaolong, a resident of Shanghai Pudong and a rights activist, posted on social media on April 12 “The Pandemic Prevention Policy Should Be Determined by a Medical Experts Group—An Open Letter to All Shanghai Citizens,” calling on an elected expert group by citizens to decide the pandemic prevention and control policy, instead of communist officials.

Ji told The Epoch Times on April 14 that there are more than 40 top-tier hospitals in Shanghai, and all of them have been evaluated by authoritative departments and are trusted by people. Dr. Zhang Wenhong is a recognized expert in one of the hospitals. All medical staff in each hospital should anonymously elect a medical expert in a process monitored by the public, and jointly set up an expert group.

He said: “The pandemic prevention opinions jointly formulated by these experts in the group have the confidence and trust of the citizens. We do not believe in the government, and we do not believe in the leader’s personal command and deployment. We believe in experts.”

Epoch Times Photo
A resident looks out behind a gate blocking an entrance to a residential area under COVID lockdown in Shanghai on April 13, 2022. (Aly Song/Reuters)

Shanghai medical experts have expressed similar opinions to Zhang’s.

Zhu Weiping, director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in Shanghai Pudong New Area, said in a recording of a conversation with citizens that asymptomatic COVID patients and patients with mild symptoms are best isolated at home, and never should go to a quarantine shelter. She said that professionals are also “being driven crazy” under the lockdown and that no one listens to what they say, because “now this disease has been turned into a political matter.”

Xu Huiliang, a 75-year-old retired doctor in Shanghai, issued an open letter using his real name on April 11, making a number of suggestions to the Shanghai municipal government for pandemic control, including ensuring the open access of the EMSS (emergency medical service system) during pandemic prevention and control to avoid and reduce casualties and humanitarian disasters caused by the control measures. He also recommended that people who tested positive for COVID-19 be allowed to isolate in their homes.

Epoch Times Photo
A staff member walks inside a makeshift hospital that will be used for Covid-19 coronavirus patients in Shanghai on April 7, 2022. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Miao Xiaohui, the retired vice president of the Changzheng Hospital affiliated to the Second Military Medical University in Shanghai, posted on social media on April 14 that according to official data, only one of the 170,000 people infected with COVID-19 has died so far, however, news of deaths caused by the lockdown have been increasing. He questioned whether the authorities should adjust the pandemic prevention strategy as soon as possible.

On April 14, it was stated at the Shanghai pandemic prevention and control press conference that there are currently only 9 COVID-19 patients in serious condition, 8 of which are elderly people over 70 years old with underlying diseases.

China’s released data throughout the pandemic has been deemed highly unreliable, as political pressure compels authorities to underreport deaths and cases.

Ning Haizhong and Luoya contributed to the report.

Alex Wu

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Alex Wu is a U.S.-based writer for The Epoch Times focusing on Chinese society, Chinese culture, human rights, and international relations.