China Under Covid Documentary

CoroNation

Directed by Ai WeiWei

Film Review

This documentary was secretly filmed in Wuhan province during the world’s first Covid lockdown between January 23 and April 8 2020. Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who directed the film from Cambridge (UK), relied on amateur filmmakers who clandestinely forwarded their footage to Weiwei via the Internet. The scarcity of Western footage of the ICU treatment makes the film all the more remarkable.

Owing to the absence of narration, the film is sometimes a little hard to follow. Nevertheless viewers get a good picture of the heavy police presence on the streets, the construction of emergency hospitals to increase treatment capacity, the busloads of doctors sent to Wuhan to staff ICUs and isolation wards and elaborate (sometimes comical) personal protective gear procedures.

Unlike the PPE I’ve seen in New Zealand (limited to full length gowns), Chinese doctors wear two full body coveralls.* Although the inside coverall excludes the feet and head, the outer garment covers their shoes, hair, forehead and cheeks to overlap their mask. They then cover their mask with a plastic face shield. Doctors are video monitored to ensure they wash their hands and don and remove their coveralls and gloves in the correct order.

The film follows a construction worker who tries to return to his home province once the emergency hospital is completed. Unsuccessful in obtaining a travel pass, he’s forced to stay in an emergency shelter.

Below is a link to a DW interview with Ai Weiwei describing the filming process:

https://www.dw.com/en/ai-weiweis-new-film-goes-behind-the-scenes-of-the-wuhan-lockdown/a-54707798


*It’s my understanding that when the Sars-CoV-2 virus first appeared in December 2019, both Chinese and western scientists greatly overestimated its lethality. It was only in August-September 2020 epidemiologists studying the mortality data a realized the death rate was only 0.1% in people under 70 (comparable to influenza mortality).

The film can be viewed free on Kanopy.

7 thoughts on “China Under Covid Documentary

  1. You say: “Unlike the PPE I’ve seen in New Zealand (limited to full length gowns), Chinese doctors wear two full body coveralls.* Although the inside coverall excludes the feet and head, the outer garment covers their shoes, hair, forehead and cheeks to overlap their mask. They then cover their mask with a plastic face shield. Doctors are video monitored to ensure hey wash their hands and don and remove their coveralls and gloves in the correct order.”
    Two full body coveralls and so on. They seem to be covered to the utmost. And the removing procedures are video monitored. So, all this can be done. But at what cost? The lethality of the virus was greatly overestimated? What about its mutations that appear now?
    The death rate was only 0.1% in people under 70 (comparable to influenza mortality: Is this still the case now?
    Thanks for the link to the DW interview!

    Like

    • Concerning your question about natural variants: After a close look at the research, it’s my impression that your best protection against the variants is no different from the best protection against Sars-CoV-2, ie to boost your immunity with Vit D, magnesium and zinc.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes I think there is a lot of sense in this. I love vegetables, fruit and get Vitamin B12 injection every three months. Enjoy the weekend.

        Like

      • Yes, and a lot of fresh air and sunshine does it for me. And to stay away from close contact with too many people! 🙂
        I still wonder, what the death rate is actually now . . .
        Should quarantined people been seen to only by people equipped with very good PPE?

        Like

  2. Fascinating. Cultural Revolution artwork of 10 paintings is a warning to us all about Authoritarianism Chinese Style. The Pandemic has resulted in curbs of an extraordinary nature; we must remain alert ot have them withdrawn as we return to normal or near normal existence post Pandemic COVID-19.

    Like

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