When daily Covid cases hit 10,000…

September 07, 2022 10:36
Photo: Bloomberg

It has almost become a norm these days that I got cancelled for appointments twice a week from people who either tested positive or stayed in isolation as close contacts.

This is also reflected in the daily number of infected cases which have been staying at over 10,000 for most of last week, surpassing that of Japan.

But I suspect the actual number might be even higher because not everyone would report their cases to the government. A piece of side evidence was that almost all my good friends were either infected or isolated in the last three months.

It was reported over 10 percent of elderly have not reported their positive rapid antigen test results or those of their families due to the worry of isolation, according to a poll by the Hong Kong Public Opinion Research Institute.

I suppose many had reservations about reporting their cases – mostly mild symptoms – in worry of affecting co-workers deemed to be closely connected people.

One case I heard was a banker in Central whose office hinted the affected person to take sick leave instead. Otherwise, around a dozen people might have to go into self-quarantine because of either having a meeting or meal with him for more than two hours.

According to those infected, it’s not easy to decide how many people they should inform given the virus typically has an incubation period of a few days. For example, should you include say, those in close contact within 24 hours, 48 hours, or further back before your symptoms started?

Also if they themselves do not report, you can guess if other closely related family members would do so.

Little wonder some estimate the going rate of infection is at least double the reported cases.

Apparently, those who would come clean either wanted to enjoy a six-month period without having to take the third jab or they are simply civil servants or working in semi-government organisations because they might face a bigger consequence for not reporting.

I was recently told by a good friend that he tested positive, and he said his lunch guest informed him that he had been infected. So we went through the struggle of reporting as detailed above.

But a day after he told me he tested negative for the next three times so he decided to live life as normal. As opposed to what I hoped, he did not plan to cancel the upcoming group dinner.

On that night, he told everyone a new version of what happened.
“I think I might have infected my lunch friend (who alerted him he was infected) but I recovered two days later,” he said.

Perhaps the human nature is the reason why it is almost mission impossible to achieve zero-Covid.

Let’s hope that the government would not have to urge people not to have cross-family gatherings during the Moon festival.

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EJ Insight writer