Lim: Stay strong

Melanie Lim

THE numbers are rising. And medical experts say it is likely thousands more are infected but fly under the radar because of mild symptoms. If such is the case, then, the fatality rate of the 2019-nCoV which currently stands below three percent might actually be lower.

Still, that doesn’t make the virus less frightening as it moves at a staggering pace—doubling every four days in China.

I understand the fear. I was a resident of Beijing during the 2002-2003 Sars (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) outbreak. But I refuse to judge the Chinese government for the lockdown of over 50 million people today in Hubei.

Definitely, it hurts. But is it too much? On hindsight, it could still be too little, too late.

The virus has caused havoc in our lives. We fear for our safety and the safety of our families. And those of us already battling existing medical conditions fear more. What should the immunocompromised do? Those who need to go to a health facility regularly for their chemotherapy sessions?

Yes, I lay that on you—the healthy ones who shamelessly swiped off all those masks.

China boasts the second largest economy in the world. And with its lockdowns, the global chain of supply has been affected. And we don’t know for how long. There will be huge economic losses for all of us and not just for the hospitality industry which is already reeling from this crisis.

Our daily troubles range from business slowdowns, event cancellations, travel plans in limbo. These represent economic losses too. Where is insurance when you need it? Travel bans have also spoiled homecomings, causing much pain and disappointment.

No one can say if the massive measures taken today are warranted. But I say, let’s not second-guess the people who need to make tough decisions amid highly fluid circumstances.

We have all been inconvenienced by this outbreak. But some people are actually suffering from it.

Think of the 55 million people on lockdown in China. Think of the 30,000 people infected. Think of the 600 lives lost and the families left heartbroken.

Think of the thousands of health workers and support staff working on ground zero. Exhausted, lonely and sleep-deprived. Working in close contact with the virus, they fear for their lives too. Unable to go home to their families, they suffer greatly too. And yet, they carry on—forfeiting freedoms for the greater good.

Think of Wuhan—where both the healthy and sick must stay strong so they can rise above global rage and repugnance.

Wuhan is not a symbol for contagion. It is a symbol for courage.

Isolation is hell. But ostracism is worse. Wuhan deserves our compassion, not our condemnation. China needs our support, not our sermons. It will get worse before it gets better. Stay strong, Wuhan. #wuhanjiayou #zhongguojiayou