Several Daily Records during the Outbreak of COVID-19

Jan. 26, 2020 (Jan. 2 of the Lunar Calendar) -- Far Away from Home

"Can't we go back to Granny's home? Why? Every year, we're back there on this date, aren't we?" My confused boy asked me a series of questions, staring at me with his black and bright eyes. I forced a smile and explained to him, "The number of infected persons in Hubei is increasing day by day, and the rate of transmission is rapid. Granny asked us to stay home to avoid getting sick." I saw my boy's eyes turning dim due to disappointment.

According to our customs, January 2 of the lunar calendar was a special day to those families with a daughter. On this special day, a married daughter would bring all of her family members back to her parents' home and gather with friends and relatives there. However, it was not a wise idea to insist on such a gathering in this year.

▲My boy stood on the platform and looked out though the bay window every time he wanted to go out.

Today, our family reunion was stopped by the epidemic outbreak. We called to extend our regards, and reminded each other that we should try to stay indoors and that a mask must be wear before we went out. We always said to each other "good health" or "take good care" before we ended a telephone conversation. On this special day, it suddenly occurred to me that we were truly far away from home.

The novel coronavirus outbreak in Hubei did not picture an optimistic vision. Everyone rushed to buy masks, alcohol-based sanitizers or other protective products. The drugstore nearby had sold out such products. Fortunately, in my house there were some masks that we had prepared for the haze.

Feb. 2, 2020 (Jan. 9 of the Lunar Calendar) 20:20 -- A Unique Moment in an Unusual Year

I could still recall the news I saw before the Spring Festival: Those who were getting married inquired the local civil affairs bureau to confirm whether they could obtain their marriage certificates on February 2, 2020. I was surprised by the thoughtfulness of these future couples at that time. It was a brilliant idea to register their marriage on that special day.

On the ninth day since I kept staying indoors, the situation in Hubei got worse. The whole country was suffering from unease. The national government made an official announcement to lengthen the holiday to February 9. We had our temperature taken when we entered or exited from the residential areas, and had our ID cards checked to see whether we were locals. All of the non-local persons must be isolated in a specialized area for 14 days. Thanks to these strict measures, the number of confirmed cases in Shaanxi grew slowly, which proved that the measures were apparently effective.

▲Reading is one of daily routine during our indoor days.

I checked the increase of confirmed cases the moment I opened my eyes in the morning. Recently, thousands of cases increased by day. With the development of the outbreak, there were plenty of introductory articles about the novel coronavirus on the Internet. World Vision also released an online article to discuss the relevant knowledge. My family members and I sighed with displeasure after learning about the history and the existing status of the novel coronavirus. "Human beings must get well along with the nature! We shall respect lives!" my husband exclaimed, though he thought nothing of it at first. My son put it more directly, "Why are man so greedy? Ordinary meat is well enough, isn't it? Those lively animals!" The principles were plain enough to be understood by kids. Why did those who ate wild animals fail to grasp the notions? Now the entire humans were paying for their greed. How pathetic!

It was said that the string of numbers, 202002022020 which represented February 2, 2020 20:20, appeared only once on history in terms of epoch of time. It seemed that people who had to stay indoors due to the pneumonia outbreak were inspired abruptly. As a result, the WeChat Moments unveiled a lively scene. Some posted their family photos, some sent encouraging words and some released special articles to extend gratitude to the physicians, nurses, policemen and others who were fighting against this disease at the front. The WeChat Moments connected friends staying home together at the moment. Although we were staying apart, our hearts were close to each other!

There was surely good news. The first batch of masks donated by our institution would be delivered to the project area with the level-1 demand tomorrow. Facing the pneumonia outbreak, the institution took rapid actions in the shortest span of time. When I told my family this news, my boy jumped up and yelled out, "Yeah! Thumb up to World Vision!" "Of course! Rapid response is our usual scene." We both laughed at this point.

Feb. 12, 2020 (Jan. 19 of the Lunar Calendar) -- We Will Meet Again As the Spring Approaches

At 7:00 a.m., we were woken by the huge and punctual noise of boom made by the anti-epidemic personnel who were sterilizing the road surface in our community and on the street. The anti-epidemic personnel were in white protective garments, wore a container of sterilizer on their back and sprayed the floor with sterilizer carefully. This work had been started since January 5 of the lunar calendar, and was carried out once in the morning and once in the afternoon. Each sterilization process lasted for almost half an hour. My boy felt worried every time he heard the noise. "I wonder whether they have put on the earplugs, or it is terrible to work under the loud noise," said him.

My nine-year-old boy had been staying indoors for nearly 20 days. His current daily routines included reading, doing homework, playing chess and playing table tennis. The last two activities were his favorites. Sometimes he was bored at home and told me, "Mom, I want to play with Changchang. I also want to play chess with Lele." The games and interaction between kids were ordinary in the past, but the scenes were far from reach now. I meant to arrange a video chat for him and his friends. "I may cry when I speak with them. I'd better meet with them when the situation permits" replied he. Hearing this little boy speaking words with experience, I could not help but laugh and meanwhile felt sad somehow.

My boy stood on the platform and looked out though the bay window every time he wanted to go out. He was rather sad. "Mom, I am counting the cars. Totally 12 cars passed in the last five minutes. I used to count nearly a hundred of it at least in five minutes," said he. To protect his eyesight, I used to ask him to watch the traffic flows from a distance when he took rest. That was why we got this contrast. The previously busy street was annoying. However, I missed those noises after enduring a long period of quietness. To him, the bay window had become a connection to the outside world. After looking through the bay window for several minutes, he would got a better mood, with a smile back on his little face. 

▲My nine-year-old boy had been staying indoors for nearly 20 days. His current daily routines included reading, doing homework, playing chess and playing table tennis.

Today was the exclusive purchase day for the week. My husband was about to walk out after he wore a mask. My boy gave him the exit card and reminded him to take his ID card. He looked at his dad with bitterness and said, "I wish I could go out with you." Every household in the community was issued with an exit card on February 10 to ensure that only one person in one household went out to purchase daily articles every two days. Moreover, the one must come back in two hours. At the entrance of the residential community, there were security staff, personnel taking temperature and checking certificates, anti-epidemic personnel and, occasionally, policemen. A part of enterprises had restart operations, while a majority of them still shut down. The situation had showed some optimistic sides, but it was still severe on the whole.

At 5:00 p.m., the broadcasting began. The contents were the same: Wear a mark before you go out. Try to stay indoors. Avoid gathering. . . . . . The same announcement was broadcast punctually every day along the street to remind people that the ongoing outbreak required constant caution. Actually, we could hardly buy a mask. The order we made online prior to the Spring Festival was cancelled after the store owner informed and refunded us. The store owner told us that masks were provided to the medical staff at the front who were entitled to the priority. Even so, the medical staff were still short of masks and other medical materials.

At 7:00 p.m., we began to watch the CCTV news broadcasting. Shortly after we stayed indoors, I scanned all kinds of news about the pneumonia outbreak through my mobile phone. The lack of materials such as protective garments and masks at the front, the sacrifice of front-line personnel and anonymous donation at public security stations made by ordinary citizens moved me to tears and drew my close attention. The news broadcasting at 7:00 p.m. informed us of the specific situation, and showed my boy that people in the whole country were fighting against this pneumonia outbreak. Little as he was, he learnt about "million people united as one man" and the connotation of the ancient verse -- "Why did you say that there's nothing to wear? I will take my own skirt for you to share."

An official announcement was made to require that the new school semester of kids shall commence after March 2. My boy was silent after knowing it. He missed his teachers, classmates and friends. I hugged him and said, "Look! Trees are blossoming down there. We will be able to get out soon, and you will be back to school soon. All will be fine."

If spring came, could our gathering be far behind? (Written by Cathy Li)


If you are interested to be involved in the COVID-19 response, please go to WV China's website in Hong Kong -