• Yingzhao Zhu

The “Wuhan” virus reflection: know what you don’t know

Originally published on Jan 31, 2020 on my medium account

My mum is the head nurse in one of the biggest public hospitals in Shenzhen, a southeastern coastal city in China, 1100km away from Wuhan, where the coronavirus burst out. Because of the virus, she went back to work straight from the 2nd day of Lunar New Year break and the whole department of her colleagues were standing in the front line guarding public health for the city. Outpatient service, emergency room, cross-department collaboration with the pneumology department… everywhere that is almost the most vulnerable, she is there. I cannot be more proud but also worried.

Whilst I’m really worried about her, I am more than proud of her. She has been doing a lot, but still not enough. Nobody can give an estimation of when this emergency would end, but three things that I observed from the chaos around me are clear: 1. The new virus has been spread all around the world now and people are horrified that they would be contaminated and died in no time. True. I’m afraid too. My mum calls me whenever she has time to ask me to put on facial masks and wash my hands. The news reports on the death cases have been rapidly increasing. All my friends back home were “locked” inside their home. Oh hell no, the Chinese have no “freedom”. Really? Nobody can limit a person’s freedom — yes, you can still do whatever you want if you really do. The public transportation service in almost all the Chinese cities is still going well, people can still go out, shop, visit friends if they really want to (given that they understand the risks). However, not everyone that went out of their house during this emergency period died, and the majority of people who have found to die/being heavily threatened already have some kinds of health issues. Regulations and recommended solutions are there, but ultimately it’s people’s responses that make a difference. Rumors will always spread faster and more fiercely than facts simply because they can catch public attention more easily. Be more sensitive and aware of what you heard on the media every day. Try to hear more sides of the story before attempting for anything. Disasters are horrifying, but spreading rumors are much worse. 2. Judgments were already quite widespread based on race. I haven’t left Australia since September 2019 yet since the virus came out, I was asked even more frequently if I had traveled to China and people would start to look a bit scared as they heard that I’m Chinese. I am Chinese DOES NOT mean: - I’ve been to China since the virus burst out - I carry the virus wherever the f*ck I go before or after this virus - I cannot spot your prejudices if you really have any It makes me feel sick to see that for quite a number of people out there who don’t know a lot about China are even dumping more of unreal preassumptions about Chinese/China during this crisis. “The Chinese eat everything.” “The CCP (governing party) can pick on anyone they want.” “China is not safe.” “The air pollution in China is so sick and I would never want to live there.” …… The Australian bushfire has been burnt for several months and is gradually getting controlled — the amount of donations is still increasing rapidly. However, it has been a month since the coronavirus burst out and I have NOT seen any fundraising/voices out for China. WHY? Australia per GDP/economic development, is a much richer country than China, and people are still donating to rescue the homeless and animals trapped in the fires. A similar situation is happening in China now, but in a different way — millions of medical practitioners are being exposed and super vulnerable in the direct contact line to rescue people who might have caught the virus. They are working restlessly, sometimes without proper support (e.g. sufficient medical resources), and not being understood by the public. For those of you that really care, the Wuhan region is in a serious shortage of the N95 facial masks (categorized as a kind of medical device for the medical practitioners). If you choose to listen to stories, listen to this one too. China also needs help — we are just not that connected, or trying to tell our stories out loud because we were busy fighting for our countrymen’s lives now. RE a recent virus-related racist publication: Sign the Petition 0 have signed. Let's get to 75,000! We, Chinese community, hereby strongly require sincere apologies publicly from both… 3. China is doing SO MUCH MORE than what you could imagine. If you didn’t hear a lot of opinions from the Chinese people, it’s because the people in the front line are busy fighting the virus instead of buzzing about your Facebook/Twitter criticism shit. China is a HUGE country with 1.4 billion people. Its cultural heritage, diversity, difficulty to make coordinated actions due to geographical difficulties, and the big firewall, are no news to some and suspicious facts to the others. But is China doing enough to “prove” itself to the outside world? Just in response to this virus: - 3 new emergency hospitals were built in the past week just in response to this virus crisis by the Hubei Province (where Wuhan is located in) - The hospitality industry in China, especially in the Hubei Province Region, is encountering an all-time low in contrast to the normal peak times during the Lunar New Year. Most of the landlords who depend almost all their incomes on receiving rents are lowering the bars for the restaurants/bars/taverns so they can better survive this period. - The overseas Chinese community and some international organizations have been doing a lot to support the - Misunderstandings between the medical practitioners and the patients/their families are everywhere and it has been an issue in China. - Most patients died already have some kinds of immune issues and are 60+ years old. - The hospitals domestically are rescuing/responding to EVERYONE that came across in the most timely manner they can. Can you imagine you can always see your doctor on the same day you walk in? This is what is happening in China. Nothing is smooth, and in the light of this crisis, they are seen even clearer. But one thing is clear: for the ones that are involved or want to be involved, they are doing something. China is big and complicated, but whilst we sort ourselves out, just don’t judge. If you want to know more about what happens in China among my family, extended family and friend circles on responses to this virus, feel free to ask. Thank you for respecting me and my country and not making this virus a racial thing at first hand. Most importantly, if you are still super really scared about the virus, just GO WASH YOUR HANDS NOW. Put up a facial mask too maybe.

IF YOU DON’T KNOW, PLEASE DON’T ACT LIKE YOU DO. Look for some more information, ask, before making preassumptions which might not be objective. Be disappointed, horrified, or hopeful and optimistic in an era of threat outburst, there’s always something we can do if we have a base of humanity. If in the crisis situation and we don’t stand with each other, the chance of none surviving will be much higher than seeing one or the other live better than their counterparts. With or without the bushfires, virus, flu, death, accident, divorce… life for each person and the human race will go on. Let’s just be a bit kinder for each other.

Jan 31, 2020 @ Sydney, Australia (all opinions are mine)

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