Coronavirus Update: China Working or Not?, Less Aggressive Strain

Yesterday, I posted congestion reports that show some cities have returned to 2019 average levels. Factories are opening in China, with reduced staff. But how much have they restarted?

Caixin: Lights Are On but No One’s Working: How Local Governments Are Faking Coronavirus Recovery
Local companies and officials are fraudulently boosting electricity consumption and other metrics in order to meet tough new back-to-work targets as the spread of Covid-19 in China wanes, a Caixin investigation has found.

As new coronavirus cases in China slowed in recent weeks, local governments in less-affected regions pushed companies and factories to return to work, typically by assigning concrete targets to district officials. Company insiders and local civil servants told Caixin that, under pressure to fulfill quotas they could not otherwise meet, they deftly cooked the books.
Local officials are graded on economic performance. They're always padding numbers to some degree.
The real resumption rate in one industrial park in Hangzhou over the weekend was 40%, the civil servant estimated, far below the 75% target.
Some companies want to get back to work because those who do can steal customers:
Prolonged suspension of production had led to the loss of technicians and business orders, he added, because some of the company’s peers in other parts of China had resumed manufacturing ahead of them.

CNBC: Chinese scientists identify two strains of the coronavirus, indicating it’s already mutated at least once
In a preliminary study published Tuesday, scientists at Peking University’s School of Life Sciences and the Institut Pasteur of Shanghai found that a more aggressive type of the new coronavirus had accounted for roughly 70% of analyzed strains, while 30% had been linked to a less aggressive type.

The more aggressive type of virus was found to be prevalent in the early stages of the outbreak in Wuhan — the Chinese city where COVID-19 was first detected late last year.

But the frequency of this type of virus has since decreased from early January.
This would help explain why Wuhan was much worse off than everywhere else.

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