Is that Covid Thingy Gone Yet?
These two friends know something is very wrong, and they have to watch out. Like the rest of us, they have no idea exactly what it is, if it is near, or exactly what they have to watch out for. One thing we know for sure is that we’ve got to keep our eyes open and watch out!
Here are the three iconic pictures on my hard drive that I remember when I think about my time here in China during the Covid-19 Lockdown:
This photo was taken on March 1, about one month into the lockdown. We were permitted to leave our housing developments once every other day to get groceries and supplies. Only one person from a household was permitted to go out. We actually checked in and checked out with the security people at the main gate of our housing development.
This stairway is deserted. It is part of the BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system. There is a ring road (“Middle Ring Road” circling the city. The express bus system has stations built in the median of the expressway, every three or four minutes in your bus trip. When you get off the bus, you go down the stairway, and then go through a pedestrian tunnel under the expressway to go to your destination. This is a little used stairway, even in normal times, but the shopping center it serves was closed. It was nearly total privacy. I happened to go down the stairs because it was near my home and I had gone shopping on the opposite side of the city at the Metro grocery store (the biggest in town). I wanted to get around to the front of the couple to get a better angle, but I really felt self conscious about interrupting their privacy.
I imagine that I know the back story on these two lovers. Of course they are lovers. They are single people, living with their parents. They colluded with each other to leave their homes to go get groceries (there was no limit on how long you were permitted to go out). They met each other in the most deserted place they could think of, the BRT station stairway to the tunnel near a closed shopping center. Note that they respect each other’s health by leaving their masks on as they sit with locked arms, talking to each other.
This picture was taken February 15, a little over two weeks into the lockdown. Obviously it is in an elevator and you can see that there is plastic over the buttons. What about the styrofoam and toothpics? I didn’t get it either for a couple days until I got on the elevator and somebody grabbed a toothpic and pushed the elevator button. The plastic just wasn’t safe enough. You were deemed safer if you pushed the button with a toothpic. There was a paper cup, off camera, that you put the toothpic in after using it. We all read about a whole apartment building in Hong Kong that was contaminated by one sick person using the elevator buttons. Elevators feel pretty safe. For a few weeks the elevators seemed to alway have fresh bleach on the floor. Not so much anymore.
This picture was take March 27, almost eight weeks after lockdown. The leader of the police in my district (Poly Hot Springs) came by to check on me. He brought some extra masks. Eight weeks prior I had no masks and didn’t know where to find them. I called the Police and within an hour, Officer Wang brought me a mask. This time he brought a couple of his assistants. I’m not sure why it took three police officers. Maybe if I was hard to handle he had some extra help. Anyway, I appreciated the attention. These police seemed a little more friendly than the ones I remember in the USA. By the way, the blury hand was that when I snapped the photo he was in the middle of a salute.
Actually, the fact that we exchanged photos came in quite handy a few days later when I got stopped at a checkpoint. I went into a residential area where I wasn’t on the listed of permitted persons. I was visiting my old apartment, which is now just used for storage. In the course of the investigation they called Officer Wang and the picture he took was delivered to the checkpoint by cell phone and it turned out to be very handy in identifying me.
This was taken on March 11 when I decided that I didn’t trust the masks that I had. It seems as if the air comes in and out beside the nose, and some of it doesn’t filter through the cloth. Certainly if a mask takes care of 90 percent of the risk, it is better than nothing, but with some thought, I figured I could do better. I have sleep apnea, and at night I breath through a pressurized mask, with a tight seal around the nose. I cut up an old mask and tube and fabricated the mask and put it over the cloth mask. Now that really felt safe. A pair of wrap around sun glasses prevented me from touching my eyes accidently (eyes are an entry point for virus) and I was good to go. Of course I looked odd, but as a foreigner, people stare at me anyway.
Except for the required masks on public transportation and in public stores, everything seems normal. Taxis and public transit requires a cell phone scan for access. That seems reasonable for contact tracing purposes. Restaurants are mask free after you sit down, but the schools are still not open. We hear that this should happen by the end of May. The schools are a big deal because child care with working parents is a pervasive problem.
Finally, I got a photo from an English friend that is circulating in Britain, and I don’t know where else . . .
China and America are symbols
of Communism and Capitalism, sort of?
The following links have something to do with Covid:
January Personal Impressions 20200131
Good News 20200226
Late February Update 20200226
March 29 Update 20200326
Seventy Percent 20200410
Development of a Pandemic 20200413
Lockdown Over 20200428
Not Gone and Memories Remain 20200512
Just a Little Earthquake 20200604
That Pesky Virus 20200621