Wuhan Diary #25: The 29th Day of the Wuhan City Closure — February 20, 2020

Graphic by 巴丢草 Badiucao

February 20, 2020 The 29th Day of the Wuhan City Closure

While writing today’s diary entry, I heard about the latest delay in our return to work. We were originally supposed to go back to work tomorrow. Now that has been put off until March 11. In reality no matter how long they put off the return to work, essential work still has to get done.

Today on my WeChat groups I saw the so-called “Preparations for the Lifting of the Wuhan City Closure”. The procedure is supposed to go like this: If the number of new infections remains at zero for the area bounded by the Yangtze and Hanjiang rivers, the closure within that area will be lifted. If for an additional 14 days the number of new infections remain at zero for 14 days, the internal closures within Wuhan city will be lifted, transportation links between the three parts of the city restored. If after another 14 days there are no new infections in all of Wuhan then the Wuhan city closure will be completely lifted and links to the outside restored.

Although this document “Preparations for the Lifting of the Wuhan City Closure” is signed Hubei Province Anti-Epidemic Control Department” and does have a certain logic, I think it is probably a fake. It is too optimistic. Even if the political consciousness of the virus were actually to be quite high, how could there not be a new case over so many consecutive days? The Chinese Communist Party isn’t patient enough to wait 42 days. If there really were to be no false reporting and this program were to be strictly adhered to, we would have to wait until the furnace heat of Wuhan in July or August to rid ourselves of the virus.

The friend of a friend was sent to the new prefabricated hospital because he had caught coronavirus pneumonia. A few days ago, completely cured, he was checked and found ready to leave the hospital. How could anyone have expected that not only have his symptoms come back these past two days but that they are steadily getting worse. If he tests positive for the coronavirus, he’ll be admitted to the hospital again. I have heard that there are quite a few cases like this.

This virus really does conceal itself well. From a different perspective, we can only hopes that the virus getting more contagious but less virulent. Maybe we’ll just have to be consoled by that.

The wife of a friend, a nurse, got confirmed diagnosis of coronavirus and was admitted to the hospital. Her symptoms included coughing so a CT scan was taken that confirmed that her lungs were infected. Her symptoms were very mild however – coughing was the only symptom. She told me that she had asked several specialists about it. They all thought that she may have a third- or fourth-generation infection. Due to virus mutations, the virus has become weaker young people can recover on their own fairly easily.

There has been much discussion lately about the measures that Japan and Singapore have taken against the virus. The constantly victimized marks within the Chinese firewall do keep on saying, “I wouldn’t copy homework” but I think that many people are being overly anxious. As the virus mutates, it will probably become no more frightening than the flu.

The situation in Wuhan is so serious for several reasons:

  1. The virus is very virulent.
  2. The true situation was concealed early on so ordinary people had no idea that they needed to protect themselves.
  3. Medical resources were seriously inadequate; asking people to self-quarantine at home led to entire families becoming infected; and people with mild cases were not able to get treatment at the optimal time and their treatment was delayed until their case had become more serious.

Japan and Singapore are determined not to make the same mistakes that Wuhan did. An additional concern is that now that Japan has a relatively aged population, the coronavirus will stress Japan’s medical infrastructure.

The point is that the disaster that Wuhan has experienced is an unlikely to be repeated man-made disaster and is unlikely to be “copied” by others.

Very recently I have gotten the feeling that Wuhan is becoming “orderly”. I don’t get this from statistics (I never believe those statistics) but from the various measures being taken. Unlike very many other people, I don’t feel any gratitude towards a leader who was “entrusted with a dangerous mission”.

Looking back a week ago from the perspective of February 20, it is very difficult not to suspect that the Party Center abandoned Wuhan to chaos and disorder and left its people to fall into hellish conditions. I am not even reluctant to suspect the worst of motives, and that for some people, I am afraid the worse it got the better. This is because as things got steadily worse in the early stages of the epidemic, a new leader was “parachuted in” so that through “forceful measures” a greater effect of “saving the people from a great calamity” could be that much greater.

Making the previous leaders of Wuhan and Hubei out to be incompetent, corrupt, ineffective, and neglectful of their duty makes the new leaders look even wiser and more impressive. The newly assigned leaders will thus get a new victory by way of popular sentiment and public opinion and finally everyone will naturally conclude that they should “rally tightly around the Party Central Committee with xxx at its core, overcome all difficulties, and move forward despite all obstacles. ”

There are just political tactics and are really nothing more than another way of keeping the people ignorant.

Yes, I am still exhibiting my own “negative energy” and my “dark side”. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It’s just a way of surviving in this Sodom.

However, those doctors and nurses who “without a thought of recompense, regardless of the danger”, those families destroyed by the deaths of family members, all those lives, all those sacrifices, they are all just pawns, all just tools.

As I write this I don’t feel anything at all. Probably that’s because this is what I expect so I can see things calmly. Do I think it is all just ridiculous? Am I being cold-hearted? No, I have just gotten used to it.

A friend who works for a foreign business real estate companies headquartered in Singapore well-known for its human management practices. He told me a story filled with dark humor. His corporate group asked all its employees – including its Hubei employees – to make contributions for relief of the area affected by the epidemic.

Ever since Wuhan was closed I have heard many friends making fun of how their company has forced them to contribute for epidemic relief. There were all outside Hubei though. This is the first time I have heard that employees in Hubei itself are being required to contribute. That must reflect a very strange way of thinking so I think it is worth writing down.

Yesterday some friends sent me some photographs. A bag in one of the trash barrels in their community was filled with small denomination RMB bank notes from five to twenty RMB. The people in my friend’s community discussed it and finally agreed that it was the “borrow a life” money put there by a superstitious person. If someone were to take the money, that would mean that they have tacitly agreed to “lending” their life expectancy to a seriously ill person. That in Wuhan in the year 2020 we can still here a story like this is also worth recording.

New sprouts have appeared on our honeysuckle. It has finally endured yet another winter.

Japanese Honeysuckle. photo

Honeysuckle, also known as woodbine and duck vine honeysuckle, usually bloom in early Summer. On the vine both white blossoms and gold blossoms flower simultaneously. When the wind blows it looks very beautiful like a flock of dancing butterflies.

I hope that before the honeysuckle blooms this year I will be able to walk out of our house.

Chinese text:

2月20日  武汉封城第29天

正在写今天的日记时,收到了最新的推迟复工的消息,原定的明天复工,继续推迟至3月11日。

其实不管复工时间怎么推迟,该做的工作总归是要做的。

今天在很多微信群里看到一个所谓的“武汉解封安排”,大概的流程是:连续14天每日新增感染数为0➡️以长江、汉江为界,区域内“解封”,再连续14天区域内每日新增感染数为0➡️武汉市内全部“解封”,三镇交通互通,继续连续14天市内每日新增感染数为0➡️武汉市外部解封。

虽然这个“解封计划”署了“湖北省防疫指挥部”的名,而且也有一定逻辑,但我觉得多半是人为杜撰的,这实在是一个太理想主义的方案了。就算病毒的政治觉悟确实如此之高,连续多日没有一例新增感染,CCP应该也没有这样的耐心等待42天。如果真的不存在瞒报,且严格遵照这个方案,恐怕只能等到武汉七月、八月的酷暑去干掉病毒了。

朋友的朋友因为感染了新冠病毒,之前住进了方舱医院,几天前病愈,检查合格出院,谁知这两天症状又出现了,还有加重的趋势,再做核算检测,果然是阳性,现在又入院了;听说这样的情况还不少。

这次的病毒的隐蔽性实在太强,但是换个角度想,也许我们可以寄希望于传染性变强而毒性减弱吧,也许只能这样安慰自己了。

我的一位朋友,太太是护士,感染确诊入院,而他自己有咳嗽的症状,所以做了CT,证实肺部确实有感染,他的症状就非常轻微,除了咳嗽再无其它表现。他告诉我他咨询了几位专业人士,大家觉得他可能感染的是三代、四代病毒,经过变异之后毒性已经没有那么强了,年轻人比较容易自愈。

日本和新加坡对疫情的应对措施,这段时间也有很多议论,墙内韭菜们纷纷表示“抄作业都不会抄”,但我觉得很多人还是多虑了。随着病毒的变异,毒性未必会比流感更可怕。而且武汉如此严重的情况,一是因为毒性强,二是前期瞒报,普通人的防护意识非常差,三是因为医疗资源严重不足,居家隔离导致全家感染,加上轻症无法接受治疗错过救治时机拖延成了重症。日本和新加坡必然不会重蹈武汉的覆辙,唯一有些担心的是,日本是一个老龄化比较严重的国家,对基础医疗还是会有一定考验的。

只是,武汉经历的这场灾难,是难以复制的人祸,恐怕不是随便就能“抄”到的。

最近终于觉得这座城市是在“有序”运转了,不是从数字(我从来不相信那些数字),而是从各项措施,但是我并不会像很多人那样对某些”临危受命“的领导报以感激。站在2月20日回看一周前,我很难不怀疑,中央当时是在放任武汉混乱、无序,放任人间地狱的惨状,甚至我不惮以最大的恶意揣测,对于有的人,恐怕是希望越惨越好。因为前期越糟糕,空降一个新的领导后,通过“强有力”的措施“拯救人民于水火”的效果就越好。将前任湖北、武汉的领导班子塑造得越是无能、贪婪、低效、渎职,就更能衬托出新任领导的英明神武,任命这些领导的人自然也能从民情、舆论中得到新的胜利,最后大家也自然更能得出“紧密团结在以***为核心的党中央周围,排除万难、一往无前”的结论。

不过政治手段而已,不过就是另一种愚民。

是的,我又在发挥自己的“负能量”和“阴暗面”了,但我不觉得有什么问题,这只是一种索多玛生存方式而已。

只是,那些“不计报酬,不论生死”的医护、那些家破人亡的家庭,所有的人命,所有的牺牲,都是棋子、都是工具。

我在敲下这些文字时内心毫无波澜,大概是因为我根本不曾期待,所以更能冷静去看待这一切。

齿冷?心寒?都没有,只是一种习以为常。

我有一位朋友供职于一家商业地产外企,集团总部在新加坡,以管理人性化著称。他跟我讲了件颇有些黑色幽默的事情,他们集团内部最近在要求全体员工捐款——是的,包括湖北地区的员工——为疫区捐款。

封城至今我听过不少朋友吐槽被公司逼捐,全是外地,湖北本地这还是第一个。思路非常奇特,值得记录下来。

昨天有朋友发了张照片给我,他们小区的垃圾桶里出现了一整袋的小额人民币,面额5元到20元不等。朋友的小区群里议论纷纷,都猜测可能是迷信人放在那里的“借命钱”——如果有人捡走这些钱,就相当于是默认把自己的寿命“借”给了重病之人。

2020年的武汉还能听到这样的故事,也是值得记录下来的。

家里的忍冬发了新芽,终于又忍过了一个冬天。

忍冬又称金银花、鸳鸯藤,通常在初夏开花,一根藤上会同时开出白色和金色的小花,风吹过的时候就像满树蝴蝶在跳舞,好看极了。

希望今年金银花开花之前,我可以走出家门。

About 高大伟 David Cowhig

After retirement translated,with wife Jessie, Liao Yiwu's 2019 "Bullets and Opium", and have been studying things 格物致知. Worked 25 years as a US State Department Foreign Service Officer including ten years at US Embassy Beijing and US Consulate General Chengdu and four years as a China Analyst in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research. Before State I translated Japanese and Chinese scientific and technical books and articles into English freelance for six years. Before that I taught English at Tunghai University in Taiwan for three years. And before that I worked two summers on Norwegian farms, milking cows and feeding chickens.
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