Day18 Wuhan Diary 武汉日记

2020.2.9 The 18th Day of the Wuhan City Closure

This morning I woke up to someone singing a song outside my window. Listening closely, I could tell that it was Angela Zhang [Zhang Shaohan]'s song "Dear it's Not love" [Qinaide, Na bushi aiqing]. The women singing had a beautiful voice and she sang well. For a moment I felt at peace.

Yesterday evening I ate the last tangerine in our house. We have now eaten all the fruit that we bought before the city closed.

We still have some vegetables -- Chinese cabbage, white radish (I don't like it), and some garlic. We finished the milk several days ago. We still have a dozen or so eggs and a good amount of meat including pork, beef and lamb.

Currently buying fruit is not difficult. When I want to buy some food in the morning, I place an order using an app on my phone and get it by noon. There is not a lot of variety (only the basics like apples, pears, and tangerines), and not a lot (quantity you are allowed to buy is limited for some products). Naturally there aren't any special sales or discounts but I am satisfied with what I can buy. Probably because there have been some incidents of grocery delivery people catching the coronavirus, the delivery people don't meet the customer in person. A friend's community allows delivery people to put packages into the elevator and press the button to send the elevator to the customer's floor. In our community, the delivery person leaves the package on the first floor and we then go downstairs to get it.

There aren't many shops open selling rice and vegetable oil. This morning mother told me that during the first ten days of the month the supermarket is having a special sale of 30 kilogram sacks of rice. That startled me. Normally I would certainly have educated mother not to buy in such a large quantity because if you shop more often you will eat fresher food. Naturally these days it was a very nice surprise.

Buying rice and vegetable oil these days is not too hard however. If I don't go to the supermarket, I can place an order on the Dongjing website for home delivery. It's not like before when they offered "next day delivery" but at least we do get our orders delivered. These days the most difficult things to get are fresh foods like vegetables, milk, eggs and meat. In addition to the apps I already had on my phone for ordering things online, I have added five or six apps the specialize in selling and delivering fresh vegetables. Even though I have added so many apps, I can't get everything I want. Some don't deliver to Hubei Province or our home is outside their delivery area. Others handle large group purchases only (that would mean our community would have to make the purchase. Some housing management companies have been organizing this.) That would require a certain number of people buying making purchases every day.

As of yesterday evening, I've made three tries to buy a box of fresh vegetables.

The first day I ordered milk, eggs, fresh vegetables and fish. When i tried to pay, there were no fresh vegetables and fish available so the order failed.

The second day there was no milk available so I ordered eggs, fresh vegetables and fish. When I tried to pay, they were out of eggs and fresh vegetables so the order failed.

The third day ordered eggs, green vegetables, fish, glass noodles, and crust of cooked rice. When I tried to pay, eggs, fish and green vegetables were out of stock so the order failed.

I usually start online shopping and ordering at 10 PM. If don't hurry up and place my order, I often find that the things that I had planned to buy have now gone out of stock. After two minutes a notice comes up that the maximum number of orders has already been reached. You need to work quickly. He who hesitates is lost.

Thanks to many years' experience scrambling to buy tickets for popular performances I am disappointed that I have been a complete flop. This has been a real blow to my self-confidence.

Recently, several schools have been expropriated as temporary quarantine locations, including somebody from our chat group -- their dorm was taken over. Compared to putting thousands of people in the same space, dorm rooms are certainly more suitable for the isolation purposes: schools are mostly in remote suburban areas, far from the densely populated city center; the space are smaller and more intimate, well-equipped with air conditioning, toilets, and other basic facilities.

I heard that in the past two days, many schools have arranged for teachers to return to school to help with renovation.But it is not completely without problems. Given the sudden nature of such expropriation, it is impossible to get the permission of each student, and it will inevitably lead to conflict between the students and the school.

As the students left school for winter break, they would have left a ton of stuff behind, including things of larger value. How to handle and store the students' property is a huge problem. The most important thing is that after all, an infected patient will be sleeping on your bed. There will be a ton of trivial and meticulous work that ensues to properly disinfect the rooms and calm the students down. Think about it. If I were a student living in an expropriated bedroom, I would be so pissed.But what else can we do? If the epidemic is not under control, no one can go back to school.There are too many "emergency matters" and everyone is making sacrifices. I hope that these "sacrifices" will not eventually become the blurred background of "great victory".

I really hope that the "patriots" in the great fire wall can realize that all these "sacrifices" can and should have been avoided, and they should not have happened at all. Putting on a show to celebrate those "sacrifices" all teary eyed is vicious and dangerous.But I'm pessimistic.

I saw on Weibo that there was a place in Shandong, sanitation workers were given masks to wear, but then masks were taken away after photos were taken. Ridiculous things are happening every day. Normally, for a commoner like me in the epidemic center should not worry about things from a place thousands of miles away, but this time I care about anything related to the epidemic. Currently Hubei is relying on medical staff and medical supplies from all over the country to survive. If any other places fall as well, it would be a disaster for Hubei.

By the same token, I am still worrying about another issue. Currently, only Hubei has adopted the standard of using both nucleic acid testing and CT scans for patients with suspected infections. However, only nucleic acid testing is used outside Hubei. We can now learn from public data released by the media that the accuracy rate of nucleic acid testing is only 30 to 50% accurate (Wang Chen, deputy director of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said in an interview that only 30 to 50% of confirmed patients were tested positive using nucleic acid testing). This means that many of the infected patients are not diagnosed.

Obviously, this is a very big hidden risk, as many places outside Hubei will resume work in the next two days. Once these coronavirus carriers and undiagnosed patients return to work, it is likely to spread rapidly.

I sincerely hope that I am just being paranoid this time. God forbid, if any big city fails, Hubei would really be finished.

Lastly I want to mention something. I went downstairs to pick up fruits at noon today. I carefully checked the door of our building, and did not find any notifications about the epidemic. Many other communities posted signs such as "Infection-Free Building" and "Fever Building". Our area doesn’t have any of these. Humph! This is unacceptable!

2月9日 武汉封城第18天

























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