Covid-19: An Experience from Hong Kong

(Disclaimer: Writing from Hong Kong where the numbers have been stably under 200 cases between January-March 2020) 

Open letter to the world,

In the year 2020, a physical virus (bearing multiple names) most commonly titled Covid-19 navigated the planet. The initial epicenter of the outbreak was located in the Chinese province of Wuhan. The virus was novel and began to spread rapidly in China, so scientists and experts were immediately called to assess the damage and study the virus.

Wuhan was put into quarantine three days later. (Click for CNN link).

 

Timeline 

Early January 
The virus had spread to parts of Asia: Japan, Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, at first. This already had Health Departments from these regions informing the WHO, CDC and other international health organisations.
Regions all around China went into quarantine (also called ‘lockdown’) over the course of the coming month.

Late January 
Around the time the Lunar New Year Holiday travel-period, small detectable parts of the virus had spread as far as Canada, America, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
It was, at the time, undetected in many other countries because some carriers themselves did not show ANY symptoms whatsoever. It was inevitable that the carriers were unaware they were ill and therefore did not receive testing, since general populous had not yet been informed about it. It was the early stage of a novel virus that had no fixed data due to its speed of mutation. (click to see time-lapse world map)

It was inevitable that the carriers were unaware they were ill and therefore did not receive testing, since general populous had not yet been informed about it.

virus map.png

 

Early February  
However, cases rose so quickly that many regions around East and South-East Asia (China, Hong Kong, Macau, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Philippines, Indonesia, India, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia and more) were on High Alert and had suspended schools as well as some public services.
Schools in Hong Kong were suspended until early March, then pushed to 13th of March, now resting at 20th of April. Schools easily adapted to ‘Zoom’ and ‘Canvas’ classes similarly to how students started using online-PDFs since SARS period in 2002-3 onward.
Masks in Asia were on mass-production due to high-population density and past experiences from SARS. (click for info on Hong Kong schools)

online learning.jpg

 

Late February
Much of the world had ‘caught up’ with the virus and had people questioning, is this really serious or is this just another trend? Is this official threat or is this a government hoax? 

Early March 
Over a thousand covid19-related deaths in Italy put the country into quarantine, followed by few nearby countries such as Netherlands and Denmark.
Ukraine and Poland have suspended universities.
Czech-Republic and Belgium reduced flights.
Europe is now being named ‘new epicenter’ of the virus.
US has issued a suspension on incoming flights from parts of Europe.
(Click for live info on Europe’s situation)
(Click for info on US flight suspension)

The Sun Europe.jpg
Photo source: The Sun, UK, Mar 2020

 

The facts are simple

  • One, it’s a mutating virus that spreads faster than the common cold and shows few symptoms initially.
  • Two, scientists are racing to find a vaccine and cure.
  • Three, any human with compromised immune systems might die from this.
  • Four, the virus knows no race, gender, class, creed, age, or orientation and is therefore highly lethal.
  • Five, ALL HUMANS are at risk of catching the virus but for SOME there is also a chance of recovery.
  • (click for info)

 

Many who are keeping up with the situation do know these facts, but the unfortunate real danger at the moment is HOW PEOPLE ARE RESPONDING TO THE THREAT.

 

Observation of Facts 

1.  MASKS DO NOT COMPLETELY PREVENT THE VIRUS BUT IT REDUCES THE CHANCE OF SPORES DIRECTLY INVADING THE MOUTH AND NOSE. Asia has mass produced  masks because of high-population density. In many regions, there is enough for both medical ad resdential. For regions on low stock, they have banned exports of masks ad rely on other nations around Asia to send or make arrangements. This practice was popularized in Asia due to past experiences with SARS. (click for info)

2.  US, Canada, and parts of Europe are currently on LOW STOCK for masks and therefore medical staff are at risk. (click for info)

3. When people living in Asia are FORCING their family and friends overseas to buy masks in other countries that have publicly announced low-stock, they are depriving medical staff in those nations the chance of fighting this virus. If medical staff cannot fight this virus then more people will die, and said action is part of the chain of these deaths. If anything, SEND MASKS!!!

4. You are not going to run out of toilet roll. Why? Because you’re now being mindful that you should not use so much of it. If you are hoarding toilet roll then chances are you’re using enough to clog a whole building’s worth of toilets. Please don’t let your impulses lead you to indirect manslaughter (if someone dies as a result of toilet malfunction.)
(And yes, Covid19 can be spread through poop, as evidenced in Hong Kong. Click to read.

5. Thefts, looting, hoarding, and mass purchases are depriving others their right to live, it is a Human-Rights Violation. Unless you’re feeding a family of twenty or more, it does not matter if your so-called ‘cultural value’ or ‘parent’ or ‘buddy’ tells you as a human to buy in bulk because this action is actually killing people, and in some countries, participating in such behaviour can lead to arrest on the premise that no government has encouraged (even if they have done little to discourage) such behaviour either. These actions are the choices of the People. (Click for news)

6. Going to school, work, or a social event when symptomatically and contagiously ill (cold, flu, fever, cough etc) is putting others at risk. If someone dies as a result of catching your cold then you have committed murder (if you suspected that you were ill and consciously came into contact with that person).
At the moment, UN and WHO are arguing the criminality of spreading coronavirus. Japan has currently arrested one man with intent to spread the virus, and another for pretending to have and spread the virus. (Click for arrest 1). (Click for arrest 2)

 

Hong Kong’s Years BETWEEN SARS and Covid-19

In the context of Hong Kong BEFORE Covid-19, there were already countless incidents of students and workers who continued with daily life despite having a fever. In some schools/ companies, people AROUND the sick person would be asked to wear a mask to protect themselves FROM the ill.
The schools/companies did not send the sick child/worker back home or to the nurses room, and allowed them to continue putting others at risk. As a result, people have died. Arguably, this constitutes murder. 

2019 Data from The Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection reported 601 intensive cases 356 deaths in adults, 24 severe cases and one death in children all related to Influenza in the period of 30 December, 2018 to 6 April, 2019. (click for more info

oliver tsang scmp 2017 kids .jpg

Photo source: SCMP, Oliver Tsang, 2017

 

How to prevent the virus

A note to those living in other places who are frantically battling to fight this virus, what I can say is that given our experiences in Hong Kong COMBINED WITH the advice from YOUR governments, the three most effective ways to combat and contain the virus are:

clean house.jpg

 

one — CLEAN YOUR HOUSES and get rid of clutter. Seriously.
Breathing in dust particles and dead skin cells weakens your respiratory systems. Sleeping in moldy humid environments also dampens your immunity. Have good ventilation in the house. Wash dishes/cutlery properly and rinse with hot/boiling water, pour 0.5-1L of boiling water down the drains every other day or so to keep the pipes clean. And wash your toilets.

two — PERSONAL CARE
Having a bad diet and poor sleeping pattern can lower your chance of recovery, so fix that if you haven’t already.
Floss, so the bacteria doesn’t get into your throats. Brush teeth twice a day, preferably after breakfast and before bed. Gargle with salt water before sleeping.
Trim your nails and clean under them. Wash your hands every 20-30 minutes with soap or sanitizer (salt and water if you have no choice).
Clean your phones (especially if you use it while on the toilet).
Shower daily, wash hair more than twice a week if possible (varies per person).

three — SOCIAL DISTANCE
Stay home unless absolutely necessary; when in public, keep a 3-6 foot distance between people. In Hong Kong this was hard so I politely asked “excuse me, please” in both English and Cantonese then screamed “murderer” if people didn’t move away when asked politely twice. Also had a bottle of water or hand sanitizer in case I had to spray (downwards away from faces) for personal space. If you’re in a more civilized society then likely saying “excuse me, please” should suffice, nonetheless protect yourselves in ways that don’t hurt others because in this case, protecting yourself IS protecting others…

four — GET TESTED if you have symptoms or have been exposed to someone with symptoms 
Symptoms are on-and-off fevers, sniffles, and coughs for a few days. According to Connor Reed, a survivor in the UK (Click): You may feel fine after a few days but then suddenly the fever spikes out of nowhere. Get tested.

Be alert. Prioritize physical and mental health.
Reach out to wise people you trust.

Stay strong, be vigilant, and think rationally but act swiftly.

 

This article was long, but we know the fight against the virus is much longer. We sincerely thank you for taking the time to read and consider some of the points (even if you don’t entirely agree, that’s okay, but at least consider before reacting, thanks).

We hope it was insightful and helpful to you wherever you are in the world, whether you are fearing the virus or nervous about changes that are taking place. Be alert. Prioritize physical and mental health. Reach out to wise people you trust. Stay strong, be vigilant, and think rationally but act swiftly.

We are sorry to see this happening to the world and we offer compassion, empathy, and condolences to those who have lost close ones to this virus.

With love,

Mikavelli


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