As a Chinese from Wuhan, I think I can give some insights on how does it feel like to be in the epic-center of COVID-19. I am not living there right now, but almost all of my family members, my friends, my classmates are there, fighting against the virus in their own way. So I think I can share some stories. This article may begin with a series of Q & A, which is much more easy to understand and grab some important information. All of the answers were based on the information from a direct contact. If the information was a hearsay, I would make it as “it was heard”, “it was said”,”some rumors”.
Q1: How are you guys now?
A1: Can’t say good, but it’s OK. Many families suffered losses of family members. The city has been locked down for about two months(Starting from Jan 23rd), which means even for families in which all the members are healthy, it was quite a challenge. They needed money, food, drink and other essential supplies. Some of the needs were satisfied, but not all of them. Being quarantined in the house itself was also quite stressful.
Q2: Did the infected people get treatment?
A2: Different period, different destinies.
Before the lock-down: Mid-Nov 2019 to Beginning of Feb 2020
The first case was said to be in the mid November, reported by some journalists. From then to the beginning of Feb, the medical resources were really really tight, which meant the majority (like 60–70%, not quite sure about the exact percents) people could not get enough medical treatment, or any treatment at all. This led to three serious consequence. One was that some people who could have made it with medical treatment, did not survive. The other problem was that the family members living with the infected, would be highly likely to get infected. Even the patient stayed in his/her own room, there was still high chances for other members to get sick. It was also quite impossible to just isolate the infected person, as h/she was in desperate need of care by others. Besides, masks were quite in shortage at that time, so there was not enough protection. The third problem was that, as the hospital could not take in all the infected people, and they still needed some medical treatment, what would they do? They would go from home to the hospital everyday, to take some intravenous therapy, to get some medicine, or to take the CT scan. This put everybody on the streets in danger. I think that’s why so many people got infected.
After the lock-down
After the lock-down order, Beijing spared no efforts to get medical resources into Wuhan. Teams of doctors and nurses from different provinces were recruited and sent to different hospitals in Wuhan. Other medical supplies were also sent from different places, including from other countries. This relieved the problem to a great extend. From then on, almost all of the infected were taken into the hospital, not just got some treatment, but got hospitalized, for free. Finally the fatality number curve flattened.
Q3: In general, what do you think of the government’s action?
A3: The government failed to prevent the outbreak, but succeeded to control the pandemic. From the media, even censored Chinese media, we could know that the officers knew the fact of the virus highly contagious and dangerous. But they did almost nothing, just telling people that the risk was low. And they functioned poorly to get enough resources. I think they should at least ask for some help from Beijing, telling their bosses how severe the situation was. The CCP secretaries of Wuhan, and of Hubei province were fired. They were the chief officers in the local governments.
After Jan 23rd, Beijing, or all the people in China, including medical teams, citizens in Wuhan, volunteers, or some government officers, have done a good job to stop the worsening of the pandemic, and from the data released these days, all the efforts worked. No newly added confirmed patients from domestic for a while.
Q4: Is the data reliable?
A4: To some degree, yes. I don’t think the released one is 100% original, must be somewhat cooked, but it still reveals the reality, or partial reality. Though, there are some rumors now(Mar 21st) that some new patients are not included in the data, but in general the situation has improved. For the fatality number, I don’t think it quite exact. I have read lots of stories that infected people without access to the virus test, and died. Those numbers were definitely not put into the death roll, but that still count right? Sure, without the test results one cannot be 100% percent that those were infected by the virus, but some of them showed the same symptoms, and many CT scans of their lungs showed that their lungs were almost the same with the positive patients. So I believe that the death roll was uncompleted.
Q5: What is the most important thing in Chinese people’s minds?
A5: To the infected, they focus on the healthy issues. To the healthy ones, they might worry about money issues, since almost all of the businesses were suspended, some people got no paychecks, making them rely on the savings, borrowings from friends, or credit lines to pay the bills, and mortgage, of course. Some infected also need to worry about the money issues.
Q6: Any suggestions to other people?
A6: Take the virus seriously. It is very dangerous and contagious. For the common people, try to get some masks. Yes, the WHO experts haven’t suggested to wear masks for un-infected people, but from my experience, one of my friend’s father was sick, and he took care of him everyday. He also volunteered to help drive doctors and nursed from home to the hospitals(The lock-down order also suspended all the public transport service, and most Chinese don’t have a car, so they need some one to drive them to work), or help deliver essentials to different hospitals. All the things were quite risky, but he was negative. Why? He took care and wore a mask. The mask part is a personal suggestion, and you can never be too cautious when faced up with a respiratory infectious disease right? Again, be cautious. I work as a quant and data analyst. I knew that all the scientific and healthy policies were based on the data. But the problem with the COVID-19 data was that, it was always a time lag. You’d better simply assume the worst case, and keep safe.
Thanks for your reading. If you guys want to ask some more questions, just make the comments.