Day15 Wuhan Diary 武汉日记

2020.2.6 The 15th Day of the Wuhan City Closure 日记原文于下

Wuhan is colder and rainier today. I am afraid this make many people suffer even more.

During the past few days many things have started to happpen that I had been worrying about.

For example, now that epidemic prevention and control work at the community level has come down to the community level, many conflicts have broken out between residents and the community authorities. On our community WebChat group, I have seen many screenshots about quarrels and abusive language. I have also seen news of fights as well as tearing of face masks and protective suits. There are even rumors of several criminal incidents – although officials call this kind of news “rumor” and so I can’t confirm it.

From the standpoint of the community authorities, they lack funding, they lack manpower, they lack supplies, they lack experience and they lack authority. The community can really provide anything in the way of medical care or assistance. In any case, to be blunt, very many people working for the community here get 3000 RMB a month to care for elderly people. Their work capacity, conscientiousness and motivation are all quite limited. It is to much to expect them to be front-line workers. From what I’ve seen over the past few days, personnel from the city, the district and the street committee levels haven’t been giving any systematic, scientific guidance about how they should be doing their work or any kind of work flow guidance to help them do their work better. They expect the communities to figure all this out on their own – to “feel for the rocks as they cross the river”.

From the standpoint of ordinary residents (such as myself), dissatisfaction has been growing. Many communities have heretofore been "invisible" organizations. Many residents discovered their community after the epidemic began when they opened "Wei Neighborhood" (an official WeChat mini-program) and joined their community chatgroup. For now, I won’t discuss “vital matters” such as contacting hospitals and arranging for a hospital bed but instead information about small things related to daily life such as disinfection and sterilization work of the neighborhood and buildings; work on the district’s daily epidemic information report; and food supplies. Difference communities handle this very differently.

Over the past few days, well-functioning communities have already brought fresh produce, prepared foods and vegetables into the community, sent out a message to the chatgroup, and arranged staggered times for every household to pick up supplies at designated pickup points. The decontamination work committee for the neighborhood and buildings shares photos of their work on the chat group to reassure the residents. To the best of my knowledge, these communities are extremely few. I tend to think that these are communities served by excellent property management companies and not organized by the communities themselves.

After several days of criticisms, arguments and abuse on these chatgroups, very many communities over the past two days have started issuing their own community epidemic reports. With that one exception, I haven’t still haven’t seen any perceptible improvement in their work.

Although community work is front-line grass-roots work, their usual work logic is that they are “grassroots management’, the “grassroots power” and not the “grassroots service”. That reflects the Chinese Communist Party’s logic of going from the top to the bottom and from the inner to the outer. Ordinarily, this wouldn’t be a big problem and one wouldn’t feel too acutely the conflicts and hypocrisy inherent in that. With the epidemic, we of course see completely exposed the bureaucracy, rigidity, dereliction of duty, and low efficiency there. Be that as it may, I expect that community work in Wuhan is certainly not among the worst in the country.

Even after the epidemic passes, these conflicts and divisions we have had will be with us for a long time to come.

Makeshift hospitals, converted from places like Wuhan International Expo Center, have been put into use in the past two days. Friends who got sent here said that the current situation was not optimistic. Heating, medicine, food and other supplies are not yet optimal, especially since there is no centralized heating. Although each bed has an electric heated blanket, not all of them are connected to a power source. From the news shared in online groups, disputes and fights against medical staff were already taking place in some makeshift hospitals. I am worried about the current situation tremendously.

First of all, the environment in such makeshift hospitals can easily cause fear and anxiety in patients. Individual mood swing can easily spread to the whole group. In addition, the patients here generally have mild symptoms, so they are more mobile. Criminal activities and mass incidents are prone to happen easily.

Secondly, since the outbreak started, official's organizational capacity, response speed, material supply, and on-site management have been terrible. The protection of thousands of patients from cold weather, along with supply of food and medicine, require scientific and systematic planning. Now we already witness inconsistency, such as lack of centralized heating on site. Instead, electric heated blankets are used on each bed, which is obviously a hidden fire hazard.

Thirdly, it was said that patients in the mobile cabin hospitals were those diagnosed with 2019-nCoV and had mild symptoms, each of whom might get better under cautious care. I asked one of my friends about his condition, who was also diagnosed with 2019-nCoV and got much better after self-quarantine at home. His parents cooked hot chicken soup and daily nutritious meals for him every day, which laid a good foundation for his recovery. However, in the mobile cabin hospitals which were short of both hands and goods, it would be difficult to provide suitable conditions for recovery. Thousands of patients being mixed together, problems of basic livelihood could not even be guaranteed. When sufficient hot water might be a problem, hot chicken soup could never be expected, let alone adequate medical staff, drugs and medical equipment.

Under the circumstances, fear and resent would soon spread once some patient got worse.

I really hoped what I was worried about would not again become realities.

I just saw a friend in WeChat group asking for help,“ My mother and grandma have started to have trouble breathing.” He hopes to help them find a bed in hospital. The friend's father has died in the previous two years, and it can be said that his mother and grandma are his only elders left. Not only can I not help him, I don't even know how to comfort him, any language is pale before this disaster.

Two days before the city was closed, a friend suggested that I quickly take my family out of Wuhan, but I did not accept it. Because I do n’t know if I ’m a virus carrier, I ’m worried that I will spread it to many more people elsewhere.

But these days I have been reflecting on whether I am too confident. Now it is fortunate that my family and I are safe and healthy. In case of infection among us, the current medical condition in Wuhan is that I personally pushed our family into hell.

2月6日 武汉封城第15天

















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© 2015 by Badiucao

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