By Xuefei Chen Axelsson
Stockholm, Feb. 22(Greenpost) — Today a news was spreading around the wechat circle. That was Academician Zhong Nanshan smiled. Dr. Zhong was considered as a hero in anti-SARS campaign in 2003 because he was one of the first who declared this was a serious epidemic and caused attention from the government.
Dr. Zhong Nanshan Smiles
This time Dr. Zhong was also the most authoritative voice saying that the corona virus could spread from person to person and at a faster speed.
When he was interviewed before, he was very serious and looked a bit tired and stressed. He almost cried when he was interviewed for the first time when he mentioned that Wuhan people sang the national song through the windows in the evening after the order was issued that Wuhan city was closed and all the people should stay at home.
It was indeed very moving and respectful for Wuhan people because in front of the sudden attack of the virus and the determined order of closing a city which has a population of 14 million. It was not an easy decision because even after the decision, Wuhan Mayor Zhou Xingwang was still saying that this was historic and if anything wrong with it, he would like to shoulder the responsibility.
Some people thought he should have closed Wuhan even earlier, but it is indeed understandable that the decision needed scientific evaluation which took time and efforts.
Dr. Zhong was 84 years old and he was very respectful. Both leaders and people really listen to him and thus a lot of notices were issued or advised with his name. But when mentioned Dr. Li Wenliang who first issued the news in his Wechat circle among friends and colleagues but got infected and died at age of 34, Dr. Zhong said Li was a hero and he should be respected too. At that moment, tears also sheded from his eyes.
But yesterday at a press conference in Guangzhou, he took off his mask and smiled. This smile implied a relief that the COVID-19 had been under control. The newly infected cases have decreased for a consecutive 16 days outside Hubei province. He did not say the turning point has come. He said Wuhan is still the heavily infected area. But the trend is in positive direction.
According to news from CDC China the newly diagnosed cases reached to 397 while the new death cases reached to 109 with accumulated cases reaching to 76288 and death toll 2345 and recovered cases 20659. Recovered number goes beyond 20 thousand.
Yesterday they also lifted observation for 26441 people. Accumulated close contacts were 618915 people and 113564 of them are still on observation.
Hubei has 366 newly diagnosed infected cases while 1767 cases were recovered yesterday. 106 people including 90 from Wuhan died. Total death accumulated to 2345 people.
47647 people in Hubei have been identified as infected and Hubei’s beds in hospital also almost reached 40 thousand. Thus those who are in need can possibly get a bed. 10892 people are severely infected. 13557 people have recovered and left hospital so far in Hubei province.
During the campaign against the COVID-19, Chinese medicine exerted a great role. Dr. Zhong Nanshan said Chinese medicine can exert a role in alleviating the symptom.
Many Chinese medicine doctors used many kinds of herbal medicine to clear the lung and improve the immune system so that the patients can have more strength to fight against the virus.
The theory is that Chinese medicine is used to improve patients’ immune systems while the western medicine theory is to combat the virus and reduce infections but the side effect is very serious.
Chinese medicine doctors even teach the patients to play Baduanjin, a kind of Taiji exercise. They treat each patient with personal treatment and the result was quite good. The Chinese medicine is used to treat the light infected patients and prevented them from getting worse.
China’s control of the COVID-19 is seen as effective because it avoided large scale infection around the world. By closing down the big city and controlling spread of virus, many people believe this could only be done in China under the leadership of the CPC. Chinese government under the leadership of President Xi and CPC have taken stronger measures to control the spreading with the leading role played by respected doctors and nurses and party members.
China has exerted its advantage and tradition of helping each other among all provinces, for example 16 provinces provided help with their capacity to Hubei province and overseas Chinese also gave donations of masks from the beginning to Hubei provinces hospitals. Two years ago when I was in Xinjiang, they said they were grateful for 19 brotherly provinces to support them. Now when Hubei suffers from COVID-19, sister areas in Xinjiang donated a lot of apples to Hubei showing the Chinese culture of helping each other when in need.
It is worthwhile to mention that there was one city in Hubei province closed its city a week earlier and the infection was substantially reduced. Sichuan province and Henan Province were also very strict in preventing the virus from spreading and very effective.
Zhejiang province got second most infections since it has close relations with Hubei province. But Zhejiang province took even more strict measures in controlling the spreading of the virus and put it under control sooner.
So far, many provinces have resumed production and workers in western China were sent back to eastern regions with chartered airplanes or chartered fast trains since the traffic became rare during the Chinese Spring Festival.
Many Chinese said this spring festival was very special, but it was also normal because this year all the families must stay at home and children don’t need to go back to school so soon.
Many feel panic and worried while many others use the chance to study or do something more interesting in addition to dance and exercise at home.
With Wechat, people can share information and encourage each other or help each other.
Chinese humor also appeared during the anti virus campaign. For example love was sent through the message and the answer can be “lets not meet now.”
One of humor was very interesting and here I translated it as the following:
Wuhan has made eight contributions to the world:
- Hong Kong demonstrators stopped demonstration.
- Macaos casino was closed for the first time in history.
- 60 weeks demonstration in France stopped due to a woman from Wuhan arriving there.
- Middle East war fairs are somewhat decreasing.
- All the outside school courses have stopped. Education ministry could not stop it, but Wuhan did it.
- The large scale eating and drinking life style stopped overnight. Even Chinese disciplinary committee could not stop it before.
- Most of the Chinese families became united and harmonious because the husband and wife have to be at home day and night.
- During these days, even the thieves stopped stealing because if they go to the street, there are no people and if they visit homes, all family members are there.
In addition, writers, artists and educators are also working at home. Many teachers began online teaching or live broadcast. Many home business started and many innovative ideas came out and actions taken at home with internet.
During the campaign, postmen were very busy and they job quardruppled. Many restaurants were severely affected, but the fast food somewhat better survived.
During the first week people relied on their stored food for the week long spring festival. But after two weeks, people have to go out to buy food and in some area, the practice was that every three days one family can send out one person to buy all the groceries.
The market supply is still there and many provinces donated things they have such as vegetables, apples, cabbage and rice. At beginning, Wuhan gave the vegetables to the market, but after the donor questioned about it, people stopped that action, but it also appeared that the vegetables got rotten because short of personnel to deliver it. Thus, I think it is not a bad idea to send these vegetables to the market sellers either donate or with low cost. Because it is hard for the Red Cross to redistribute these vegetables to every family or hospital or other units. Let market function is not a bad idea.
During the first week, it was somewhat panic because all over the world, the overseas Chinese said they donated goods, but due to the closedown of traffic and many countries stopped airlines, it took longer time for the good to arrive in Wuhan or Hubei, some took two or three weeks.
Due to the panic mentality, there have been some episodes of the news or communication driven by social media to lead to people’s sadness such as Dr. Li Wenliang’s death, the poetic and friendship words on donation packages from Japan aroused a big discussion. Some people said the Japanese are more educated than Chinese who only know to say Cheer up Hubei, Wuhan, or God Bless China. But as more patients were cured and more hospitals were built, the desperate mentality has been cured.
At the very beginning, China also stunned the world by building a Huoshenshan hospital and a Leishenshan hospital by about ten days. Huoshenshan means God of fire mountain and Leishenshan means God of thunder mountain. The hope is that the fire and thunder will definitely kill the virus with their power or magic working like holy spirits.
In addition to two new hospitals, many Noah Ark like hospitals were also built to host more than 40 thousand patients infected by COVID-19.
It seemed to me that in China, with the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and its 89 million party members, the government gives orders, the enterprises cooperate in keeping supply lines and the society echoed all the calls. So the government, enterprises and society united much better than normal times in front of the disasters.
In this sense, I would like to give the credit to the party members because while in dangerous situation, it was always the party members should step forward and face the danger first.
For example, during this anti virus campaign, over 30 thousand doctors and nurses voluntarily answered the call and went to Wuhan to work in those new hospitals. Most of them are party members and many of them who are not would like to join the party on site. This spirit was really moving.
According to reports, due to the uncertainty before the closedown of Wuhan and later with overload of work and stress, by February 11, 3019 doctors and nurses were infected by COVID-19 virus and 1716 cases were confirmed. Among them, 1502 cases were from Hubei province.
During this campaign, nine doctors including two professor doctors, one hospital president died at work. They have become a martyr for us all.
Yesterday I watched the Oct. 18 201 event simulation meeting organized by Johns Hopkins Health Security Center, World Economic Forum and Bill and Melanda Gates Foundation which discussed a lot about how to deal with such kind of serious virus epidemic or pandemic. This show actually caused a lot of conspiracy views which thought America has known this. But I think the discussion mainly focuses on a scenario that the government and business are difficult to form a partnership and the individualism ideas make people difficult to follow the information or guidance.
Indeed there were many rumours and fake news coming out mainly from anti China chinese in America. For example they smear the Wuhan P4 lab for leaking the virus. But as I interviewed Professor Duan from Karolinska Hospital, it is impossible to a P4 lab to leak anything out. It is a very scientifically built lab which has negative pressure which guarantee for the security. As for the scientists, it is also impossible for scientists to have such a low level ethics or break their ethical bottom line.
Some Chinese in America who suffered a setback during Chinas anti corruption campaign or Falungong related people, they only spread their hatrad, presumptions or fabrications plus their imaginations.
It is not difficult to imagine that Chinese hospitals would be extremely busy even during the normal time, let alone under the current situation.
In my opinion, Chinese system is actually functioning well because it is more centralized and the government answered the call of the people quickly and whole heartedly. Under the principle of putting the people’s lives in the center, Chinese economy is definitely affected.
But I think just because it is Spring Festival time, many production stopped anyway, the most damaged industry is tourism and restaurants and hotels. Thus, this effect is felt not only in China, but also many other countries including nordic countries such as Sweden and Finland.
Now since the virus is somewhat under control, it was reported that about 95 percent of production business began to resume.
For example, workers from Xinjiang were sent to Hunan by chartered airplanes with preventive measures. Slowly workers are on the working places now. So far only the students are still at home to enjoy their holidays.
Nowadays schools open earlier than 30 years ago when I was at university. Then the opening of schools was on March first. Nowadays it was usually after the Spring Festival holiday. Due to COVID-19, students can relax a little bit.
Finally about the COVID-19, it is a new kind of virus which was similar to SARS or MERs but not as deadly as those, but it spread faster. It can also spread to other people before you really have symptoms such as coughing, fever and fatigue. Those who are over 80 years old, the infection rate is 14.8%. The younger people are less likely infected. Those who died are mostly having other diseases such as cardiological problems, diabetes and high blood pressure.
The main prevention method is to isolate yourself, often wash your hand, don’t touch your face. It can spread by sneeze or spit. So Dr. Zhong adviced people to even pay attention to your shoes. Try to avoid stepping on any spit.
Where in the world comes the virus from?
So far it is still not clear where the virus comes from. According to early first seven cases, four persons came from a seafood and wildlife trading market, but three others didn’t come from there. The latest research from Yunnan branch of the Chinese Academy of Sciences shows that the virus does not come from that market because their samples show that it is the same as the other three.
Some people suspect that this virus might be the same as the American flu, or another version of the American flu.
But to be honest, no one knows where and when exactly it came from. It can be estimated that the very first spreading of the virus can be on November 27th. Someone said it might start on mid October, but due to the favorable climate, it didn’t break then. Due to the shrewdness of the virus, it can have longer incubation period of 24 days.
Maybe the cold and wet weather in Wuhan just provides the bed for the virus, it is hard to say. We have to wait and see how the scientists and researchers find out through autopsy and sample studies.
Text by Xuefei Chen Axelsson. Photos from web.