Metallurgists calculated that when two or three bodies were dragged out of the hospital, loaded into a funeral car and driven out. Each body bag means another empty bed and a chance for the survival of his father.
The metallurgist, Yang, had slept in his car outside the hospital for two days. His father trembled on a bench in the emergency room, wrapped in a blanket and wheezing while breathing oxygen from the tank. He tested positive for coronavirus, but there was no bed for the old man.
Yang warned his father not to leave in early January, when he began seeing more funeral tents than usual and heard rumors of a new virus in Wuhan. But his father would not listen. Nobody around them was worried at the time, only his stubborn son who read too much dangerous information on non-Chinese internet.
“I am old. I will die sooner or later,” Yang’s father joked, sneaking around while Yang was working.
A month later, he died.
These days are remembered in Yang’s mind, even now, a month after the reopening of the famous Wuhan. Here, in the city where the corona virus began, the story of the government’s victory is filled with slogans about “people’s war” – led by the Chinese Communist Party – printed on red banners and flashing on the horizon. Yangtze River.
Locking for months cleared the usual haze of pollution from the industrial center, revealing an open sky over a towering bridge and pink lilies floating in the lake. People lined up for lobster buckets, biting on crispy, spicy roots and lingering at breakfast stalls, serving sesame paste noodles and tofu skins filled with rice.
Fishermen and families return to the beach, fly kites, take selfies and sleep on Sundays in a hammock.
However, anxiety remains. Some fear a second wave of coronavirus – a new infection has recently been reported, prompting testing throughout the city. Others are worried about economic casualties: job loss, impending debt and ongoing closing costs, as most of the world is shrinking from an outbreak that has infected more than 5 million people and killed more than 340,000 people.
For many people in Wuhan, the initial anger of being lied to, locked up and abandoned has been replaced by the horror of how other countries have failed to contain the virus despite early warnings. There is also an angry feeling that the world blames them for the corona virus, when they were the first people to suffer from it.
Meanwhile Beijing made the hero of Wuhan, a city of sacrifice whose inhabitants fought and died to stop the virus and save the nation. But many people in Wuhan say they have never asked for this burden, and now they spend their days remembering people who disappeared while trying to find out what lay ahead.
“That’s hell,” Yang said. His father obtained a hospital bed on February 14, three days after he tested positive. But the doctor said it was too late to save him and give him a place outside the intensive care unit. There will be no nurses who feed or bathe him. Yang, 53, decided to stay and care for his own father.
But her mother, who lost her arm in a factory accident and suffered from Alzheimer’s, is still at home. His wife, daughter and sister were locked up in another environment. At that time, the cars could not get to the hospital, so for six days, Yang went back and forth between the house and his father’s department.
Three times a day, she will wear a shower cap, raincoat, gloves, glasses and factory masks, feed her father, disinfect herself, then go home on a bicycle, undress, water with alcohol and cook for her mother – who keeps asking if her husband is dead. “Not him. I won’t lie to you,” Yang told him.
On the fourth day, his father passed out. He lost the movement of his right arm and began to hit the air and tried to release his oxygen mask with his left arm. Who scolded him. “You tried to kill me,” his father said.
The old man stopped eating. The one asking for nurses help. He held his father’s arm and gave him a sedative and a food tube. Yang and his brothers spent several thousand dollars on 30 nutritional injections to save him. The nurse gives him one. The next day, February 21, he died.
Before being locked up, several people in Wuhan knew what danger they were facing. For three weeks in January, government officials said the virus was “manageable, preventable” and not contagious among humans. Eight people, including Dr. The famous Li Wenliang was later reprimanded on public television for “spreading the word” about the new disease.
The Wuhan health commission insisted that there were no new cases of the virus for more than a week in January, while the city held a political meeting. Residents continue to shop, eat, and attend the Chinese New Year celebrations with tens of thousands of guests, unaware that death is spreading among them.
It was only on January 20 that Zhong Nanshan, a doctor famous for speaking during the SARS epidemic, announced on state television that there was human-to-human transmission. Three days later, the city of 11 million people was locked up.
Frontline doctors, who asked not to be named because he was banned from speaking with foreign journalists, said that colleagues had been wearing masks for weeks, relying on their own judgment on officials’ statements. He oversees 50 of the 400 hospital beds, all of which are filled quickly.
They have a ventilator for 50 patients and an oxygen tank for the others, but not enough pressure for oxygen. People fainted in the corridor, foaming in their mouths – a sign that their lungs were “sinking,” the doctor said. Others fell “out of fear,” he said, perhaps with a sudden heart attack.
Many of these early deaths have not been documented. Only patients with confirmed coronavirus infections were registered, doctors said, and many died too soon to be tested, especially because there were not enough tests. Even worse, there is no treatment.
“There is no way to save them. Not enough beds, not enough equipment, not enough facilities, not enough people, “he said. “As a doctor, you feel helpless, trying to help him breathe. You just watch their oxygen go down, down, down and there is nothing you can do. You can not follow. “
The city – which is sick and lost will be reproduced throughout the world – whispers with stories like that. Outside the hospital, the streets felt cold and empty – as if the city were dead, said the MC, 35, owner of a nail salon that offered himself, delivering food and masks to hospitals and poor families in the city.
Ahead of the Chinese New Year, January 24, state television broadcasts the annual Spring Festival Gala, with extraordinary dances and glamorous hosts laughing out loud. In Wuhan, it was the second lockdown day; the city was quiet.
“I feel like: my city is sick,” the MC said. He remembers crossing the bridge in the dark, only seeing ambulances and funeral cars on the road. He kept hearing that China would sacrifice its city to save the country. “If that is true, we must save ourselves,” he recalls, thinking.
One night, an ambulance dropped an old man and a woman in the neighborhood in the Qiaokou district, then ran away. They are Wu’s grandmother and Xu’s grandfather, both 94 years old. Their daughters who live upstairs generally take care of them. However, he was hospitalized with COVID-19 on January 28 and died two days later.
Grandfather Xu was once a professor of literature with an award for excellence in his writing. He and Wu’s grandmother were honored last year at a ceremony in the city for distinguished academics as part of China’s 70th birthday celebration. It was also their 70th wedding anniversary, and Xu was in the element, reading poetry and singing Beijing opera.
A security guard recorded the video that night: Grandfather Xu fell, fell to the ground. Grandma Wu stumbled toward her in her pajamas, pushing a walker. Nobody dared to touch them. They had just come from the hospital and their family had been infected with a virus. Who knows they are sick?
“I pulled it and pulled it, and it won’t move,” Grandma Wu said.
Either way, the two of them went to their apartment upstairs. But Grandfather Xu won’t survive.
“We cannot see them, we cannot care for them; we are helpless, “their older daughter said in an interview. She and her husband live in New York, but came to Wuhan for a vacation. After recovering from COVID-19, they found Grandma Wu in mid-February and continued to care for her. They requested that their names not be used for their protection.
“We have already lost one, my sister. And my father died without reason or clarity. We do not know how he died. What happens when he gets home? How did he die? “Said the girl. His mother began to cry.
For 10 days, the only people who took care of Grandma Wu were “network” workers who were employed by the government whose job was to monitor households in their neighborhood.
“Don’t touch it,” said the worker’s colleague. But the worker came every day, persuading Grandma Wu to swallow a spoonful of porridge.
“America cannot do what we do here, with workers checking every home, testing, measuring temperature and sending food,” said Grandma Wu’s daughter. Her husband agreed: the local government was three weeks late to announce his illness and he wanted to sue the hospital that had expelled his in-laws. But the central government did a good job when it took office in February, he said – even though the city was still traumatized.
“In Wuhan, those who suffer from this disease also feel different from those who don’t. You don’t know the feeling of fear, “said Grandma Wu’s daughter.” We write our own will and prepare to die. “
While coronaviruses have made some Chinese aware of the weaknesses of their government, coronaviruses have also destroyed the ideal of Western ideas for many people.
“I was surprised and disappointed. I am rethinking what I think I know about America, “said Liu, 43, a migrant worker and security guard who helped build an emergency hospital for the corona virus.
Liu calls himself “awake” – he has long criticized authoritarianism, corruption and the suppression of the Communist Party’s freedom of expression. He views American democracy as a model of what China is like. He is friends with activists and has taken secret telephone videos at construction sites and in hospitals to warn other countries of what is happening in Wuhan.
“We are trying hard to tell the world,” Liu said. “But with freedom of the press and freedom of expression, they still fail. How can be like that? “
Even if he is disappointed with the United States, said Liu, there is no doubt that the Communist Party has conquered most of the Chinese population.
“People are very angry. The government has silenced our doctors. But now the reverse is true: it seems the West is worse. The numbers speak for themselves, “he said. “Even with economic difficulties, workers will say it was a natural disaster. They will not blame the government. They think it protects them well. “
Key Zhou, 40, another volunteer from Wuhan, said that he was most worried about Chinese-American tensions and rising nationalism. He saw the rhetoric of hate every day on state television and online, where novelist Wuhan Fang Fang was sold out in the West – because his coronavirus diary was published in English.
The way people attack reminded him of the scene he saw during confinement: infected people spit on the elevator button out of spite and shouted at volunteers, “If I can’t live, no one can live! “Sometimes he also wants to scream.
Zhou feared a second cultural revolution or a third world war. Some of his friends now store food, he said, not because of the corona virus but in the face of impending sanctions or inflation.
“What’s even scarier than a virus is the way it destroys our relationship,” Zhou said. “When people are afraid, worried, we hurt ourselves. But that is our fault, not a virus error. That’s human, not Chinese or American. “
A showcase for storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.
Yang, the metallurgist, did not have the time or heart to think about world affairs. After his father died, he had to be quarantined in a hotel. He refused at first: he had two dogs, six chickens, a vegetable garden for his father and mother to guard his house.
Finally, his mother came with him; the dogs were sent to a pet hospital and the chickens survived by being given extra food.
“Dogs, chickens, I saved them all,” Yang said. “The only one I didn’t save was my father.”
Ms. Yang’s sister suffered a mental collapse after the death of their father. He refused to see other family members, but received psychological treatment. Who feared the recurrence of his own depression, which paralyzed him two years ago.
He returned to the steel industry, which has a special department for retired executives. They watched as he took his father’s ashes and kept them in the grave. He and his sister both put a handful of chrysanthemums there, torn from the roof. He finally wanted to bring his father’s ashes to their hometown in Hunan. The supervisor will probably follow him there too.
“That’s political,” he said. “They won’t let you go alone.”
When Yang thought of his father’s death, he swore and then said, “Everything can be avoided. We need justice from heaven, “he said. But he also blamed himself: “He must have touched something with a virus. I should have given him gloves. “
His mother asked where his father went every day. Her memory is gone; everything that used to fade. Which answers the question and keeps the park alive.
Source —–> https://www.latimes.com/world-nation/story/2020-05-24/wuhan-china-coronavirus-survivors-closure
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