My name is Rosalee and I am a Chinese doctor who trained with INPP. I want to share something with all of the INPP family, who can read this letter.
Last December and this January, we heard that a new type of pneumonia could be found in Wuhan, Hubei, China. We knew that it was viral but we did not know what the virus was. Is it serious? Is the disease contagious? No answer at all.
China is a country with big population, so, every decision should be based on evidence or panic and rumor would be a disaster. In the middle of January, our government and scientists announced that the pneumonia was infected by a new corona-virus never known before. Now everyone knows its name as COVID-19. The medical system quickly became overloaded. Chinese scientists knew nothing about the disease at that time and patients faced the same situation.
At first, people did not worry too much about it. We had the spring festival holiday at that time, and a lot of people went back to their hometowns around China, had parties together, visited relatives and friends……that was the start of the tragedy. Fortunately, our government told us home quarantine should be carried out. It was simple. Every Chinese person, if you wanted to survive the contagion, just obey the rule. The virus did not discriminate but took life equally, no matter whether you were rich or poor. As the situation of contagion became worse and worse, first Wuhan city, then the Hubei province, followed by the whole of China, locked down. Imagine, about 1.435 billion people staying at home to fight the virus’s ability to spread, except for those on duty.
The virus was relentless in its spread and its hold and a lot of people died in this period. As a doctor, I was on duty all the time. At first, there was a shortage of PPE and infection and exhaustion amongst doctors and nurses was a big problem in Hubei province, but many people from different places helped Hubei. The first battlefield was the hospital where our soldiers are the medical workers. More than 40,000 doctors and nurses from other provinces went to Hubei to fight the war. Only now can I tell you the story, no, it’s the truth. At that time, anxiety and fear filled me every day—-I do think a lot of Chinese had similar fears during that period. The hard time lasted about two months, now it seems that everything is under control.
We Chinese survived the virus, so I want to share with you all our experience.
First of all, quarantine. Athough mild cases of infection can display no symptoms at all, and most patients just experience symptoms like “flu”, the fatality rate is much higher than any “flu” we have known before. Please pay attention to the fatality rates of Italy and Spain especially because the medical systems in these countries are much better than the Chinese medical system. Why? Because in China with a large population, the medical system is overloaded. If we do not want to be infected, the only way is to stay at home. This is the only way you can help severe cases and the doctors and nurses treating them.
Secondly, protection. Try to reduce the frequency of going out. If you must go out, be sure to keep a distance from others of at least two metres. If you do not have have PPE, gloves (can be replaced by plastic bags), face masks and glasses can all provide some measure of protection around the mucous membranes, which are the main portals of entry for the virus into the body. If you do not have these things, try to keep a distance from others, and do not touch your face or body before you can wash your hands. Never ever attend a party! Never ever join crowds! Never ever try to challenge the virus in public! Without life we can do nothing.
Thirdly, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Healthy foods, regular exercise, regular, sufficient sleep, all of these are important to strengthen the body’s resistance to disease. Better lifestyle also means a better mood and better immunity. Healthy habits help to ward off disease.
Today, with the spread of the pandemic, it has become an unprecedented global war, and mankind is facing the same enemy, the COVID-19. The NIH of US announced that the virus comes from nature. No matter the source or the power of nature we, as human beings, should help each other to survive and overcome the crisis. This is an entirely new disease, and China was the first to suffer from the pandemic. It was a tragedy to witness some countries repeating our mistake. We did not know what we were fighting. Based on our experience, you do. Please, please listen to the voice from China.
There is a sentence in the novel The Three Body Problem – weakness and ignorance are not barriers to survival, but arrogance is. This pandemic is a common challenge faced by mankind in the age of globalization. At this moment, sharing resources, experiences and lessons, regardless of who you are, is our only chance to win. The real remedy for this pandemic is not isolation, but cooperation. This war has just begun.
Take care, my friends！