where have all the big whites gone?

I’m not sure if Shenzhen has settled into its new normal, but it does seem that zero-Covid is trying to be low-key in a city where 72-hour negatives remain mandatory for public transportation and buildings? Advertisements for volunteers, for example, are bright pink and non-threatening. Join and help, they invite ordinary citizens to participate. What’s more, while the volunteers who coordinate test lines are masked and gloved, nevertheless some wear the unmistakable red vest of Shenzhen’s volunteer corps, rather than being covered head-to-toe in white hazmat suits. At the station were I get tested, the only people wearing hazmat suits were the medical personal swabbing throats (or ‘poking’ 捅 as the vernacular calls it). The overall effect downplays any threat to public health. In fact, yesterday, many of those who walked or jogged past the lines to get tested were not wearing masks. Instead, as the unmasked went about their ordinary lives, those of us standing on line (masked, of course) performed compliance. And frankly, the overall feeling was not exhaustion, but boredom. Swipe left. Poke. Poke. Swipe right.

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