Viruses and our lives

  The new coronavirus is still a keyword in 2021, but it has become more difficult to describe.
  The worst is long over for most people’s lives, at least within China. Looking back at the domestic epidemic this year, there were only a few small-scale “outbreaks”. Whenever it emerges lightly, various anti-epidemic measures go hand in hand to smother the flames ruthlessly.
  Therefore, the stress of the epidemic for most of us is more psychological. Under this circumstance, it goes without saying that anti-epidemic supplies such as masks and alcohol are no longer widely used in daily life. People are trying to find the old days and breathe freely in the sun.
  However, this is obviously an overly optimistic attitude.
  Almost at the same time as this article was written, another piece of “bad news” came about the new coronavirus: confirmed by the China CDC, the asymptomatic infection of the new coronavirus imported from abroad on December 9 in Tianjin was detected. “Omicron Variant”.
  This is the first time that “Omicron” has appeared in mainland China. As we all know, it is the latest variant of the new coronavirus, and its spike protein has twice as many mutation sites as the previous popular strain “Delta”.
  At the same time, news also came out in Zhejiang, where the last round of the epidemic broke out. According to reports, Zhejiang “Hangshaoyong” has accumulated nearly 200 new crown cases within 8 days. The three places have taken strict travel prevention measures and will continue until March 2022. 15th. In my personal impression, this is the first time this year that there has been a “beginning and ending” time limit for regional closures for such a long time.
  The above two pieces of news can’t be more obvious to warn us that the epidemic is still by our side. “Would you like to get along with the virus or not” is a false proposition. As long as we stay open, we have no choice at all.
The city is suddenly empty

  ”Tomorrow or accident, I don’t know which will come first”, when I really realized this sentence, it came from a failed interview. In early January this year, a small-scale outbreak occurred in Shijiazhuang. As a reporter, I once went to Wuhan during the epidemic period in Wuhan. This time, I naturally rushed to Shijiazhuang immediately.
  However, for a month, I thought about that night repeatedly. I landed in the sky above Shijiazhuang, where there were few lights. It was cold and frosty, and when I walked out of the airport, a piece of news appeared in my feed, which told me, “Shijiazhuang will implement lockdown measures from now on.”
  As soon as I landed, I was “blocked” and I could only smile bitterly. The taxis have been stopped, and the drivers have done “black work” as a matter of course. They charge per person, and usually pay 200 yuan per person for a journey of 100 yuan. There is no negotiation.
People’s daily life is always tough, and this has left a deep impression on me, whether in Wuhan or Shijiazhuang.

  I silently got into the crowded carriage. The driver not only had multiple destinations, but also bypassed the roadblocks that were being placed. Therefore, the journey that was less than an hour before took more than 3 hours that night. However, it was during this twist and turn that I saw a panicked city.
  In the beginning, there were still many cars and pedestrians on the road. Despite the crowds, the streets were enveloped in an inexplicable silence. When encountering a roadblock, the driver would have to turn around, but the same road was clearer than before, and it seemed to be empty all of a sudden. By about 10pm, we finally entered the city, and it was already empty.
  Fortunately, I am familiar with this kind of emptiness. In February 2020, I arrived in the silent Wuhan. It was the first time in my life that I saw an abandoned high-speed train station, but its shops, those posters hanging in the hall, were so new.
  The square of the train station is empty, and going further into the city, the city without people is like copying and pasting a boring street scene.
  It was like a world out of a sci-fi movie.
  A few days before the lockdown in Shijiazhuang, my hotel was still able to come and go freely. The people who stayed in the hotel were all trapped like me, but I was “self-inflicted”. Honestly, my purpose is to visit this beleaguered city, so I’m not in a hurry.
  But some people who are trapped are not like me. On the first night I stayed, I saw a middle-aged man sitting in the lobby who was constantly on the phone. No need for me to ask anything, this man complained to everyone. His flight was supposed to take off tonight, but it was an hour or two short of it, and the flight was canceled, which made it impossible for him to leave.
  For more than a week, he was always in the hotel lobby. He told me that the company asked him to save money, so he lived in a dormitory where the hotel staff was idle, and it cost him only a few dozen dollars a day. On the other hand, his work could not stop, so he had to turn on the computer in the hall and work online.
  I also met a colleague who was trapped in Shijiazhuang with me. With the free time of going in and out, she and I were looking for shared electric vehicles for scanning codes. After the functions of the city were shut down, most of the electric vehicles were out of power. We found only a few vehicles left and visited Shijiazhuang one by one.
  People’s daily life is always tough, and this has left a deep impression on me, whether in Wuhan or Shijiazhuang. Neighbors at the entrance of the village will still gather, of course wearing masks. Men who live in remote homes will ride motorcycles to the city. They pack rice, vegetables and some snacks into the back seat frame and go home with a full load. Under the epidemic, the wanderers returned instead. Those vehicles with foreign licenses drove into the village, all of them brought daily necessities and came back with a reunion.
  People often ask me, how do people live under the prevention and control of epidemic areas? I will answer that, live as usual. Even when life is left with only daily necessities, it becomes simpler. This is probably the resilience of people.
virus and human

  I was trapped in Shijiazhuang for 29 days. For me, “29” is an unforgettable number. It’s only one day away, and it’s already a month. But about 20 days later in Shijiazhuang, the hotel I was in was also controlled and no longer allowed free entry and exit. So, I’m stuck in a tiny room like any other trapped person.
  The middle-aged man trapped in the lobby heard from the front desk of the hotel that he left before the hotel was closed, but he did not know where he went.
  After getting out of Shijiazhuang, I felt exhausted both physically and mentally. In addition, when I was in Wuhan, I was trapped for more than three months, and that lonely mood returned. After that, I never traveled to the epidemic area again.
  However, the epidemic will not let the world go. In places as far away as Heilongjiang, Beijing, and Shaanxi, there are still sporadic cases. Nearby, such as Zhejiang and Ruili, Yunnan, the epidemic invades life from time to time. We are concerned about the epidemic situation in Ruili. Facing the pressure of imported cases from the “border”, the local area has adopted more extreme prevention and control measures.

  At present, in China, the emergence of the epidemic is regional, and it is difficult to connect them into a whole. However, for me, the first time I had a deep understanding of the epidemic in an interview was in 2018 before the new crown epidemic.
  Perhaps many people still have memories. During the Spring Festival in 2018, the WeChat Moments were screened by an article called “Beijing Middle Ages under the Flu”. The author of the article recorded the pain of his father after contracting the flu, and after many measures he eventually died and died of the flu.
  At the turn of that winter and spring, people once fell into the fear of “flu”. When I went to Beijing to interview and report, a doctor told me that when the flu was at its worst, the hospital was full of patients and their families. At that time, it took half a day to line up for testing, and there were no beds in the hospital. Many patients were in the halls and corridors. They made holes in the walls and hung drips.
  Of course, people at that time didn’t know what the “new crown” was. Doctors and epidemic prevention experts told me that the flu was not a cold, it was a disease caused by a virus.
That year, the interview about the flu almost overturned my perception. On the one hand, our lives seem solid, but in fact they are easily overwhelmed by viruses. On the other hand, from the perspective of viral infection, our modern way of life has inadvertently created a “hotbed” for the pandemic.

  At the time, they even described it this way: “We have a wrong understanding of influenza. In fact, people have never really eliminated the influenza virus, and it may come back at any time.” Historically, Spain in 1918 suffered a pandemic of influenza, which caused death The number is between 50 million and 100 million people.
  That year, the interview about the flu almost overturned my perception. On the one hand, our lives seem solid, but in fact they are easily overwhelmed by viruses. On the other hand, from the perspective of viral infection, our modern way of life has inadvertently created a “hotbed” for the pandemic.
  What is the relationship between the virus and the human world? In the distant past, due to the limited capacity of human activities, societies existed in the form of agglomeration. If there is a virus or a plague, it will affect closer gathering points, but it will not spread to the whole society. By 1918, the scope of human activity had increased, which was the premise of a “pandemic.”
  In today’s era, where the horizon is just around the corner, this is no longer an assumption. Therefore, almost every turn of winter and spring, influenza will be prevalent around the world. Viruses are always with human beings in this way. From the perspective of time, the history of virus existence is even longer than that of human beings.
  So, we never have to specifically say, to “coexist with the virus”. Because in reality, we have been coexisting with viruses. However, the “SARS” at the beginning of the century, the H1N1 influenza virus around 2010, and the influenza virus in 2018, they only appeared temporarily. More often, humans get along with viruses without knowing it.
  Therefore, it can be said that our lives are built on unmeasurable variables. People who are concerned about all this, such as those in the epidemic prevention community, are well aware that this danger will never go away.
  It’s just that no one could have imagined that it is not “flu” but “coronavirus” that will become a pandemic again.
re-examine life

  From the “new crown” to human history, this may be a digression. Going back to the present, the two years that have been plagued by the new coronavirus will one day become history. I often wonder, how would we describe these two years?
  After all, it has long been not a simple public epidemic prevention issue.

On August 4, 2021, Beijing, people wear masks to travel

  We will see advances in technology. In previous pandemics, there was a limit to what humans could do, such as the Spanish flu pandemic, which waited until the virus automatically exited the field. In fact, the human society at that time can only do this.
  However, in the two years of fighting against the new crown, specific vaccines were successfully launched within one year, and specific drugs were also launched within two years. Therefore, apart from the variables of Omicron, we have already seen that the end of the epidemic is not far away.
  We have also seen disruptions in the political order. In the midst of the virus pandemic, Western society, which was originally the birthplace of modern science, has emerged to oppose scientific epidemic prevention. Not just resistance to vaccines, but disdainful participation in public health and prevention and control measures.
  However, the epidemic prevention dilemma appeared in Western society, which caused heavy losses.
Interlinked, the virus has broken through the layers of barriers in human society, leading to the ongoing dilemma of global epidemic prevention.

  We can also see the greed of business society. Since the launch of the new crown vaccine, developed countries have all been vaccinated, but weak developing countries have suffered from insufficient vaccines. Under the persuasion of international forces such as the WHO, this situation is difficult to change. In particular, before Delta and Omicron appeared, out of commercial interests, companies such as Pfizer and Modena promoted “strengthening needles”.
  This means that basic epidemic prevention cannot be achieved in poor areas that are in urgent need of vaccines, but in developed countries and regions where vaccines are abundant, vaccines are used for “unproven necessity” purposes.
  As WHO experts have warned, under a pandemic, it is impossible to achieve self-protection for individual countries and regions. However, “scientific immunity” has become worthless driven by commercial interests.
  The virus is an unexpected intruder, but it uncovers the truth that was previously concealed.
  However, the problem is so complicated: under the consideration of commercial interests, vaccine manufacturers lobbied the government and public opinion to launch vaccines that were not perfect, such as the once-marketed AstraZeneca vaccine. The behavior of companies and governments has led to more civil opposition to vaccines, and it is more difficult to build the originally weak trust. Interlinked, the virus has broken through the layers of barriers in human society, leading to the ongoing dilemma of global epidemic prevention.
  According to historical experience, the virus may automatically exit. The virus will always become a past tense, but what will the life changed by the epidemic look like? There is no answer, perhaps only this: We don’t know much more than we know.