Taylor Lorenz defends China’s ‘zero COVID’ lockdowns

Washington Post reporter Taylor Lorenz is once again stirring controversy — this time by appearing to defend the Chinese government’s stringent COVID-19 lockdowns that have kept millions confined to their homes while sparking angry protests.

Lorenz last week posted a tweet in response to her employer’s Twitter link of an article which examines the ramifications of Beijing’s “zero COVID” strategy, which aims to completely stamp out coronavirus cases rather than contain outbreaks and treat symptoms.

“A coronavirus outbreak on the verge of being China’s biggest of the pandemic has exposed a critical flaw in Beijing’s ‘zero COVID’ strategy: a vast population without natural immunity,” the Washington Post’s caption read.

Lorenz, who has criticized the US government’s lifting of virus mitigation measures and is often seen in public wearing a mask due to having a medical condition that puts her at risk, criticized her own newspaper.

“Choosing not to kill off millions of vulnerable people (as the US is doing) isn’t a ‘critical flaw,'” Lorenz tweeted.

Lorenz posted a tweet critical of an article written by Washington Post colleagues.
Facebook / Taylor Lorenz

“There is no lasting ‘natural immunity’ to COVID,” Lorenz added. “You can get covid over and over and over again bc there are so many endlessly evolving strains and antibodies wane.”

The New York Post has sought comment from Lorenz, whose comments went viral. She was widely accused of endorsing the Chinese government’s strict methods, which include lockdowns, mass testing, and forced quarantine of those exposed to the virus.

China’s policies and the concurrent rise in COVID cases have significantly hampered the national economy, forcing slowdowns in manufacturing that has investors on Wall Street concerned.

On Twitter, Lorenz angrily denied that she supported the “zero COVID” strategy.

She tweeted that “agreeing with forecast, large scale permanent disabilities [does not equal] blanket agreement with anyone’s policies.”

“So please stop saying I’ve endorsed policies I’ve absolutely never spoken about much less endorsed!”

China's
China’s “zero COVID” strategy has sparked protests throughout the country.
AFP via Getty Images

Lorenz went on to praise the Washington Post and its health reporters, who “do some of the most excellent covid reporting around.”

“It’s a big reason I’m so proud to work here,” Lorenz tweeted. “They’re the best in the biz and as a medically vulnerable person I rely daily on their coverage.”

This isn’t the first time that Lorenz has publicly criticized a Washington Post colleague over a disagreement on COVID.

Last month, Lorenz took aim at Helaine Olen, a columnist and contributor to the newspaper’s opinion page, who opined on a Page Six story detailing how infamous germaphobe Howard Stern left his “bunker” to dine with friends for the first time since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

“At some point we’re going to need to start a conversation about the people still too afraid to leave their homes because of Covid,” Olen tweeted.

Despite lockdowns and forced quarantines, China is in the grip of a coronavirus outbreak.
Despite lockdowns and forced quarantines, China is in the grip of a coronavirus outbreak.
Bloomberg via Getty Images

“I personally know of two such cases. This is not a healthy way to live.”

Lorenz responded: “What an absurd, insensitive thing to post. Thousands are dying per week, millions are disabled & we have zero effective drugs that prevent infection.”

“Immunocompromised [people] don’t deserve condescending comments [about] being ‘too afraid’ of a virus that can kill or severely disable us.”

In June, the Washington Post fired political reporter Felicia Sonmez for “insubordination” after she publicly condemned colleagues and editors at the paper for not being sufficiently supportive of female staffers.

Sonmez was angered by the paper’s failure to discipline colleagues who criticized management’s decision to suspend without pay another reporter, Dave Weigel, for retweeting a joke that was deemed sexist by some.

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