Life now as we live it…
Well 2020 started off with quite the bang wouldn’t you say? No one is a stranger to the news of the novel coronavirus and its unpleasant effects in china and possible threat to the global health and economy. Before I go any further, I’ll like to welcome you all to today’s post and officially let you guys know that I’m in perfect health by the Grace of God and I do hope that wherever you are reading this post from, you are too.
Here is a brief narration of the all the news that we’ve received so far and the sense I can make out of them. Some time in December, the news of a viral pneumonia case in Wuhan (a city in the Hubei province of China), was reported. We were later informed that this was caused by a new strain of the coronavirus, hence the name 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV). The source of infection of this virus is an already infected person. Which begs to ask the question, how did the first person get infected? Most of the initial cases occurred in people associated with the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, where a variety of wild animals are sold. This could mean that patient zero may either have eaten an infected animal or somehow gotten infected by an infected animal and contracted the virus.
The route of transmission is mainly airborne which means that susceptible people can get infected by inhaling contaminated aerosol droplets from an infected person when they cough, sneeze or spit (as is the beloved behavior of the Chinese folks). Also, close contact with infected persons or direct contact with their respiratory secretions may also cause an infection. Based on the current epidemiological survey, the incubation period is generally 3-7, with the longest not more than 14 days, within which an infected person is expected to show symptoms (dry cough,fever, fatigue being the main manifestations). Considering that it takes a few days for an infected person to show symptoms, and while asymptomatic they’re still contagious, it is safe to suggest that even before patient zero was diagnosed, he/she may have infected as many people as came into contact with him/her (family, friends and strangers alike). These people also in turn became carriers themselves and unknowingly spread the infection. This is why Wuhan is the city with the highest number of reported cases.
The most unfortunate factor in this whole disaster, I think, is the timing of its emergence. The period between December-January is a festive season; we have Christmas holidays, New Year holidays, winter vacation, and even the Chinese Spring festival. To celebrate the holidays, people travelled to various places in and out the country. January 24th-31st happened to be the Chinese New Year holidays and so prior to that, people travelled back home in order to celebrate the season with family, which meant more movement and travelling across the country. So now there’s an outbreak of virus which is airborne and its rate of infection is facilitated by the fact that it’s travel season. This is how the 2019-nCoV spread across the borders of Wuhan to the various parts of the country including my darling Jiamusi city and even across the shores of China.
The unfortunate has happened and we’re living it but I still commend China as a country for the response and behavior towards facing this issue. The first thing you want to do in the face of an epidemic is to control the spread and try to reduce the rate of infection as much as possible and many measures have been put in place to that effect. Some airports and other forms of public transports have been closed temporarily, most shops and public centers have closed shop, communities and schools are on lockdown. For the few supermarkets/shops that are opened, there are checkpoints for people to check their body temp before they’re allowed to enter. We are advised to stay indoors in order to avoid the risk of getting infected. If you must go out then be sure to use your masks and gloves and try to avoid public places. China has also put up a hospital dedicated solely to treating patients infected with the 2019-nCoV within a period of 10 days… way to go China!!! We’ve received news of doctors travelling from all over China to Wuhan to help fight this disease.
The virus, though it may not have infected everybody, has affected all of us in more ways than one. Shops have closed down, businesses have halted, schools are on lockdown, empty streets, silence everywhere… it’s practically ghost town. Even the dormitory feels dead as everyone is confined to their rooms. We have most interactions online now and that includes church service and daily roll calls. The holidays have been extended until further notice. I’m all for personal space and keeping to myself but even I am tired of being my only company for so long (lol). I find the night time to be the hardest because I can’t sleep since my brain is still active but my eyes are sore from staring at the screen of my phone/laptop all day watching whatever I can to keep me occupied. Mind you I’m not complaining but only stating how it feels to be in this situation. No matter how uncomfortable it may be, isolation is still our best bet at avoiding getting infected. Prevention is, after all, better than cure.
When I think of the 2019-nCoV and how much it has affected life in China and even the world at large, I’m left with a feeling of humility and powerlessness at the same time. There is a lot to learn from this incidence as individuals and as countries watching China. Chinese folks prepared for a New Year celebration but now they have to put their lives on hold to battle this epidemic. Students went home for vacation and now they can’t come back until further notice. A country filled with so much life, lights and people everywhere has now become a shadow of itself. So many plans cancelled in the face of this unwanted intruder. Disaster is indeed no respecter of persons or status. I think if we wake up each day as a country with no disease at our doorsteps, we ought to be grateful to God. If you can step out of your home, take a deep long breath and hug your neighbor without any fear of infection, if you can go to work and return in one piece… then you have to give thanks to God for it is He alone that keeps us.
This is no war, all the nuclear weapons and heavy machinery meant for war are useless in the face of this virus that is so tiny that it can’t even be seen with the naked eye. It is during times like these that I hope we realize who the true enemy should be. There are so many things that can affect a nation; epidemics, fire outbreaks, famine, droughts and all sorts of natural disasters. Things we don’t plan for, things that creep up on us while we go about our national duties. These are the things we ought to fight against, and not diseases like corruption and other social vices that we inflict on our own nation out of greed and some twisted sense of entitlement. This is a difficult time for China but hopefully it’s a time of reflection for us all.
I’m really thankful to all of you guys who keep checking on us here on this side, God keeps us safe. I’m hopeful that the good Lord will see us through this period successfully and China will be back on her feet in no time. Keep China in your prayers, and let’s all do our best to keep safe.
Until my next post…