By Arthur Beaugeard
Lu Jing Jiang, AKA Daniel Lu, a 9th-grade resident of a coastal suburb in Shanghai, China, is a part of living history. For months, the deadly Wuhan Coronavirus has spread throughout China, with a death count of 812. 37,252 are infected, 28,942 are possibly infected, 6,188 are severely infected, and only 2,780 have been cured as of February 9th, 2020. The numbers rise each day.
This graph shows the demography of confirmed cases in each Chinese province as of February 9th, 2020. Note that the majority of the cases are centered in the province labeled 湖北 (Hu Bei), which is the province where the city of Wuhan is situated.
Although he is not at the epicenter of the virus in Wuhan, nor is he living in the more fatal conditions of downtown Shanghai, Daniel informed me people still stay in their homes throughout all hours of the night and day in self-imposed quarantine. The chilly, vacant streets lie empty and on the rare occasions when people cross paths, they avoid each other. Even doctors are getting sick by leaving their eyes unprotected.
He further went on to explain that to re-enter your apartment building after an outing, you needed “a permit, for you to go around”. Permits were issued to all residents of the building and they must be shown to the guards when a resident wants to return home after an outing. They must explain where they were as well as their travel history. Similar checkpoints have been set up on the highway, with the most common question being: “Have you been to Wuhan?” Many cities have banned cars from other provinces to mosey along into their territory. All of these measures are intended to quell the spread of the virus.
Daniel says that “food prices are rising” and that his family is “starting to prepare to ration food.” Pork remains rare “because of the 2019 epidemic,” Daniel remarked in reference to the African Swine flu, another epidemic which ravaged China’s pig populations in 2019.
His school has been cancelled until March so far, but he says this period may extend later. All of his classes must be done over FaceTime now in a system called “Classin’” in one-hour periods, which he appreciates, saying that it really “condenses” the information.
Nobody he knows has the Wuhan Coronavirus yet, but he thinks that even if they did they would not like to talk about it. Many conspiracy theories run rampant featuring the actions of foreign powers, namely the USA, creating the virus and sending it to China as a form of biological warfare. Daniel thinks that these theories stem from the deep-seated nationalism exhibited by the Chinese people. He does not lend much credence to such theories. “I think the government has handled it well, after all, the World Health Organization praised their response.” Quoth Daniel, who also believes that the domestic media is providing accurate information.
For now, public morale remains high. Daniel remains confident in his own survival.