Encountering the Epidemic: the Geniality and Sadness We Knew | iAsk Feature

Author: iAsk   

In this war against viruses, the considerable uncertainty has made everyone recognize their own humbleness and helplessness.

We see ignorance, but also the great soul under the flesh.

Trickles congregate into lakes, even seas.

A man's fate is closely interconnected with others. A single effort can become a major impetus to overcome the epidemic.

In order to record the experiences and efforts of ordinary people in the middle of the epidemic, iAsk Leaders has released an anti-epidemic documentary as a special programme .

The following are first-person narrations from interviewees.

A letter from a volunteer named Peng Hui

I am a volunteer in Qingshan District of Wuhan City. I have been a party member for seven years.

Seeing the news about recruiting volunteers on Weibo, I filled out the form about the volunteer's basic information, and completed the application in a dash. Two days later, I started on my volunteer position.

I had a full-time job in Shenzhen before the epidemic. But now I can't go back, and I am working from home. When there is no volunteer work, I usually concentrate on my job.

My volunteer work doesn't involve too much contact with hospitals. It is more on the assistance side, mainly in four parts:

The first part is transportation and distribution of supplies. When vehicles transporting supplies donated by other provinces arrive, we will unload the alcohol, vegetables, fruits and other supplies, arrange delivery and distribution to communities.
Secondly, to take temperature at the entrances of vegetable markets or supermarkets where the traffic is heavy.
Thirdly, to transfer patients on fever in an emergency.
Fourthly, on some occasions, to deliver three meals a day to medical staff or patients. Generally, I deliver food to the door. They are not reachable, so I have few chances to talk with medical staff.

Although I was worried to tell my parents that I am a volunteer, they accepted it very soon. It is dangerous, but someone must do the work.

I see many medical teams come from other regions, and volunteers from other provinces are here to support. As a local in Wuhan, if I am not helping, who should do?

At the beginning, there were few volunteers, only 20 to 30 people. With so many tasks, we were fully occupied every day and had no time to rest. Now the volunteering team is getting larger and functions better.

Meanwhile, volunteer organizations distribute protective gear based on the degree of danger of volunteering.

A full set of equipment including hats, goggles, masks, gloves, protective suits, etc. is available in front-line areas where the virus is more dense.
In places where the virus environment is less severe, wearing hats, goggles, masks and gloves is sufficient.

Fortunately, there has been no case of infection among volunteers currently working in Qingshan District.

When we take the daily volunteer service, the first thing everyone does on arriving at the destination is to take a temperature and perform disinfection. After volunteering, we will take another round of temperature and systemic disinfection. We protect ourselves well.

I have been doing volunteer work for more than 10 days, and there are many things that make me feel warm.

Everyone is eager to work more and share the work for each other. When taking temperature of supermarket customers, we found some uncooperative and irritable people. But when some residents noticed that we were wearing ordinary masks, they brought us better N95 masks from home, saying: "You are volunteers and must take care and protect yourself." Sometimes when seeing us tired at work, they bought us drinking water.

In an environment where everyone needs to maintain a one-meter distance, these small acts are touching.

Everyone is in a work group. When one is out to take volunteer task, he will usually depart and return with a small group of members nearby. We organize your own travel.

They are mostly local volunteers, probably 200 people in the entire district. The scale is large, but we still need hands. In the past days, many locals have returned to Wuhan. Due to current traffic control, many people can't even come back.

For the moment, a major difficulty in the prevention and control of the Wuhan epidemic is the shortage of personnel and supplies.

Many company employees are not locals of Wuhan. They returned to their hometowns before the Chinese New Year. Now they can't return to their posts, which should be maintained. Even if they are willing to, the environment does not allow it. There are no other ways.

The sudden outbreak interrupted the rhythm of all people. The whole society was on a sudden brake. We work hard to earn money, the pace of life getting faster and faster. Many people treat money as the sole caliber of happiness. In a time when supplies are hard to buy, why not reflect on our life?

People don't put money prior to two things — health and freedom. Now we face both challenges, and realize that immunity is one's best competitiveness. Life is more important than anything. I believe that we will get better in 2020. I also hope that the medical system will get improved after this incident.

Post-90s in Guangxi supported Wuhan after 20 hour road trip

"I know that many people need help here. Since the seventh day of Chinese New Year's Day, I have been preparing supplies transported to Wuhan and doing some meaningful deeds here." said accommodating Liang Yijin. After the outbreak in Wuhan, he was greatly impacted by the daily news he saw.

On February 3, when Peng Manhui kept the news of being a volunteer from his parents, Liang Yijin also hid from his family to spend tens of thousands of yuan acquiring 500 kg of rice, eggs, peanut oil and greens. He loaded his minivan and drove to Wuhan alone early the next morning.

"The road trip was smooth. There were few cars along the way, but it was raining. I was lucky to get help from the police all the way. Eventually, I donated the supplies." After the long drive, Liang Yijin arrived in Wuhan and asked the police on duty for help. The police was eager to contact several places to receive supplies. It didn't take long before finding a donation point at the Citizens Service Center of Wuhan Economic Development Zone.

After donating supplies, Liang Yijin decided to stay in Wuhan as a volunteer.

He became one of the few non-local volunteers in Peng Hui's words.

Donation by the ordinary person Lin Shengbin

On January 31, the Hangzhou Red Cross announced a list of donators for the epidemic. The first name on the list was Lin Shengbin.

His name seems to have been forgotten.

"Come back quickly, something serious happened…" On June 22, 2017, Lin Shengbin was on a business trip to Guangzhou. He received a call, which was the beginning of his nightmare.

After flying back to Hangzhou, he saw four burned corpses, "My daughter, died without closing her eyes."

The fire was set by Nanny Mo.

Lin Shengbin never maltreated Nanny Mo. Knowing that she was dissatisfied with the salary of 6,500 yuan, he soon raised it to 7,500 yuan. When Nanny Mo complained the load of work, the Lin family hired an hourly worker to do cleaning. In addition, after the Lin Shengbin and his wife heard that Nanny Mo lacked of money to buy a house, they gave her subsidies for several times, worth 111,000 yuan in total.

"We are kind to her. Why did she commit arson?" Lin Shengbin was surprised.

Through the police investigation, Lin Shengbin learned that Nanny Mo Huanjing was addicted to gambling and borrowed high usury." In order to pay off her debts, she stole Lin's possessions to sell — high-end watches, gold bracelets, platinum necklaces …

Lin confided on Weibo that he missed his wife and children: " My wife and my children, why did you leave me? Please, come back soon …" But malicious comments from some netizens followed, scolding him: "Use the misery of his wife and children to gain sympathy."

Since then, Lin Shengbin has become restraint. Even if he misses his wife and children, he no longer talks.

On January 27, an ordinary person, Lin Shengbin, felt guilty on Weibo that he was unable to help prevent and control the epidemic.

On January 28, Lin Shengbin eventually bought 5,000 masks worth 90,000 yuan, and donated them immediately. He didn't post it on Weibo.

But not everyone who is hit by the disaster can requite injury with kindness, and face calmly as Li Shengbin did.

The development of civilization must respect the laws of nature

As a psychological counselor, I have received many cases from Wuhan. The reason of most people asking for help is about anxiety.

"My mother almost broke down. She won't let me talk to anyone. No one. Dad was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus pneumonia and has been quarantined …" confided by one of the visitors. He was particularly worried that his 50 year old father couldn't survive this spring. But neither he nor his mother was infected by chance.

He was not freaking out, because he asked for help, not immersed in his mother's negative emotions. He realized he needed find someone to talk to and channel his anger and helplessness while difficulties appear.

Another case that impressed me was about a visitor consulting for his friend.

"My friend's father broke down. His 50-year-old friend, in his father's age, died of the novel coronavirus. The old man was very anxious, started to throwing things, broke his mobile phone, and threw himself on the wall. It is a chaos in the small room. "

"You can try to contact the psychiatrist at the medical institution." I told the anxious visitor.

"If his father stays in the hospital, will he be infected with the virus?"

"Our biggest enemy is coronavirus, not mental illness. To be precise, his father has got a stress disorder. The doctor won't recommend him going to the hospital. He probably prescribe some medicine or give him a sedative."

At this point, the visitor finally sighed with relief.

It is a post-traumatic stress disorder caused by a major social event. For example, during the war, Japanese battle planes dropped bombs. Some survivals watched others die, and couldn't help imagine their own death.

To date, it seems that visitors over 40 years old who have the old and young at home feel more anxious. This anxiety has not yet found among young people.

Why do people are scared and worried about the epidemic?

It's out of control.

Car accidents can lead to death. About 200 people die from car accidents every day, but it doesn't generate anxiety.

We may think that if driving slowly, we can avoid accidents. But facing the epidemic, everyone is vulnerable.

Before the outbreak, I lived in the country all year round, so I have been doing online psychological consultation since 2004. This epidemic has less impact on my work, but changed my way of thinking.

This epidemic is something that humans may have to experience. Because in the process of civilization development, sufferings and setbacks are inevitable.

In addition to the epidemic of novel coronavirus, locust plagues in Africa, fires in Australia, floods in the United Kingdom, are natural disasters taking place around the world in 2020

We have to learn from the experience, learning how to get along with animals and nature.

The development of civilization must respect the laws of nature.

My one hundred and twentieth

I am the first confirmed positive case of novel coronavirus pneumonia in Shanxi Province. I have been discharged from hospital.

In the negative pressure quarantine ward, except the door to the independent bathroom, the door to the buffer area, and the door to the corridor, I was not allowed to go out or anywhere. The only window was also covered with paper, only light coming without view.

My mood had worsened day by day since I moved into this closed ward. I knew that the medical condition was times better than that in the epidemic area of Hubei province. But I still wanted a little more about the living condition, at least there should have been a window.

Except for the nurse who was responsible, other nurses in the quarantine area were not allowed to enter my quarantine ward. They took good care of me. After all, there were few confirmed cases in Shanxi province at the time. A few people were in quarantine, and some are suspected.

In order to observe my condition, a nurse made a small opening on the window shield, so that I could see a layer of tall buildings outside. Through this square opening, she could see me without entering the room. I could also look at the two potted flowers in the corridor and the tall buildings opposite.

This small square was about one hundred and twentieth of the size of the entire window.

It's my one hundred and twentieth. It's the light that illuminated me in the low mood.

"Sister, what are you doing?"
"I am damaging public property!"


Hair isn't too much staff compared to viruses?"

The Shaanxi medical team stayed at a hotel in our district. I took volunteer work with them.

One day, I saw the hairdresser cutting the medical staff's hair in the lobby.

Nurses had their hair dyed, permed, and meticulously cared just before the Chinese New Year. Their wisps of hair fell on the ground like falling leaves.

All girls had a crew cut.

The boys were shaved to bald heads.

I was distressed to see this. Who doesn't love beauty?

But they have to wear hats and masks. Keeping hair increases risks of infection…

They haven't enjoyed good meals in the past month

Graduated in nursing care in 2007, I am working in an elderly care institution.

The elderly care institution is special, because it was a relatively closed environment.

I learned about the novel coronavirus on January 18. On January 20, our district held a meeting. We followed the instruction, completely shutting the door of the elderly community. No one was allowed to enter or exit.

To date, the 14-day quarantine period has passed and none of the elderly have been infected. They are safe.

The elderly we serve are basically in their 80s and 90s. Although the critically sick patients reported are mostly elderly people, our clients have always been taken good care of. They read the news, but have no fear of the epidemic. They just know: " We can't go out to take a sun bath. "

"Why don't my children come to visit me?" is the most frequently asked question.

We are in the urban area. Family members usually visit the elderly once or twice a week. Unable to see their family, they become very anxious.

As a local in Wuhan, everyone is most anxious about the period from the Chinese New Year Eve to the 15th day of the first lunar month. It is an incubation period.

Earlier the online news said that some patients could not be treated. They needed to wait in a long queue, had no way to seek medical treatment. Such situations happened, when resources of the entire medical system ran on squeeze from an eruption of positive cases. Limited medical staff were unable to tend that many patients in one time.

Now that the incubation period has passed, the state's support is in place step by step. All patients are treated properly, as far as I know, without exception.

One of my friends was infected without knowing it. He then attended the company's year-end party, dinned with colleagues. Fortunately, none of the hundreds of staff were infected, but his parents became ill from close contact with with him. His whole family were mild cases and have now been discharged from the hospital.

The probability of infection may be exaggerated by some media or gossip news. For example,15 seconds of contact led to infection. But my friend and his colleagues shared one space for hours and they were not affected.It doesn't mean that we should understate the danger of the virus, but it shouldn't be exaggerated, not that scary.

Some stories reported, about shopping for food but being infected while exchanging a few words, or asymptomatic patients infecting others, are true, but they are not typical.

In another nursing home I know, a nurse was infected, but the elderly were healthy.

It requires certain conditions to transmit the virus. Most infection cases I know have gotten from close contact. If a group of people live together for one or two weeks, cross-infection may happen.

Many of my classmates in nursing are working in the infectious disease department or other departments in Wuhan's hospitals. They are all at the forefront and are working really hard. I am trapped in Enshi and will offer what I can to help them.

One of my college classmates is a nurse at the infectious department of Tianyou Hospital. Both he and his wife are working there.

They started treating patients with the novel coronavirus very early.
Once I heard them saying: "We haven't enjoyed good meals in the past month. We basically eat instant noodles, some vegetarian food, and for a month, we haven't had rice."

Hearing this, I felt a lump coming into my throat.

It was the Chinese New Year holiday. Many takeaway outlets were closed. They have a hospital cafeteria, but it still relied on the takeaway system.
I asked for help and managed to send them some rice and chicken soup.

Later, the government signed an agreement with Hema, which can provide hospitals with hundreds of meals per day. But in the end, Tianyou Hospital did not use it, even if there are hot meals there, they had no time.

One of my primary school classmates told me that he was trying the best every day to avoid eating and going to the toilet. During the 10 hour work, he tries to use only one N95 mask and one protective suit.

Many of my medical classmates are husband and wife. They are both on the front line, serving in the hospital. Some of them have not seen each other for two months and dare not go home. They spend night in the hospital or the hotel dormitory. Their children have been sent to their parents home in Hubei provinces.

Their stories are very true, happening around me every day.

I feel very fortunate that none of my friends are deadly infected. After the outbreak, the civil power in Wuhan was greatly mobilized. Many friends dedicated themselves to volunteering and driving doctors for work. I am very grateful to my classmates and friends fighting on the front line. I am happy to give a hand whenever needed.

I believe that the epidemic will be over soon with joint efforts. Everyone will take up the wine cup and chat merrily once again.

But we need to reflect.

There is a great brain drain in the medical system. Some have found positions in plastic surgery hospitals, and some are working with private hospitals now. The salary of many medical staff is disproportionately to their workload. With their ability, they can find better jobs of higher salaries after leaving public hospitals.They will have more time to spend with family and enjoy life.

The efficiency and convenience of our existing medical system is, to a certain extent, at the cost of the overloaded sacrifice of front-line medical staff.

But at present, most of those who are on the front lines are medical workers in public hospitals. In many other industries, it takes two or three months, or even less time, to train a qualified employee.

For the medical system, it takes four years to train a nurse, at least five years to train a doctor. They cannot be replaced randomly. They must risk their lives and do things that ordinary people cannot.

We cannot live over. Once the medical personnel leave, it is difficult to restore, because it means to start over and train from the beginning.
We hope that the society will be more tolerant and treat medical staff in a better way.

An excerpt of an article written by A Window of South Wind (pseudonym) goes:

Those suffering from uremia and relying on periodic hemodialysis to support their lives, are in trouble of all sides. People with diabetes must take medicine or injections regularly to ensure their survival, but they are out of supplies. Cancer patients rely greatly on chemotherapy, radiotherapy, PICC placement, and even painkillers to survive, but now they are alone. Pregnant women bearing a unstable fetus and their babies are vulnerable in an environment of constraints of birth check resources, traffic disruption, and logistics stagnation.

In the middle of the epidemic, medical resources are scarce. The suffering of every ordinary person seemed to be amplified.

But we are witnessing: every ordinary person is becoming stronger and more tenacious.

As the government strengthens the resources deployment, more and more medical workers and volunteers join in the fight, companies increase donations, and more ordinary people underline self-quarantine, the condition is getting better.

We cannot turn a cold back to the hardships and sufferings of others, nor can we neglect the dedication and efforts by the ordinary person.

Whether it is Li Wenliang, the whistle blower, or the thousands of medical staff on the front line, thousands of volunteers, hundreds of millions of people at home in cities and villages, they should all be respected.

Everyone is part of the torrent of this era.

Everyone is writing today's history.




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