February 19th:

Hong Kong reported 6,063 in 24 hours, slightly down since Thursday’s numbers which totalled more than 6,116, but still a near high. This comes just days after Hong Kong announced a postponement of the closed-door election process for Hong Kong’s new Chief Executive, one which allows just over 1,000 elites out of Hong Kong’s 7.4 million people to vote.

The candidates for Chief Executive must also be pre-selected and approved by the Communist Party of China before being allowed to officially compete. The Chief Executive is the de-facto local leader of Hong Kong, with the legislature left virtually powerless after 2021 reforms, most of whom are also no longer directly-elected.

The news of the surge is being gloatingly reported by outlets such as the Washington Post and Al Jazeera, who have been heavily critical of so called “zero-covid” policies, including the bans on US travelers.

They have also bemoaned Hong Kong’s lack of focus on vaccines, despite the fact vaccination rates in Hong Kong actually exceed those of the US, and that that the vast majority of the new cases in Hong Kong were fully vaccinated (59.1%).

This surge was initially preceded by relatively mild controls, with bar and restaurant closures only announced after the initial surge in imported cases on January 7th. Once those imported cases entered, local spread was mostly exacerbated by Lunar News Years gatherings, after which the government seems to have lost control.

By comparison, the US, in which many localities have essentially given up tracking case numbers reported over 100,000 new infections, and 2,226 deaths in a single day (compared to 2,403 Americans who died in Pearl Harbor). This comes while many US states are dropping their mask mandates, declaring the pandemic to be waning, despite mass deaths.

The US Surgeon General, wife and their daughter have all tested positive in the last several days.

Just 700km away in Taiwan, just 8 local cases were reported the same day, with 6 already in quarantine.