Day 30 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge. I’m heavy with my cold now but at least my cough turns over – eventually. I’m hacking my way through the day. It’s sunny and unually warm out,  -1 degrees Celsius. Crazy, eh. And of course, no climate change. Tomorrow it’s going to be +2C, Saturday +3. How can I legitimately complain? It’s perfect weather to foster colds and such ailments.

Of course, the Coronavirus is ever on my mind. I worry about my friends and my people in China and Hong Kong. One does not truly know the scope of things. But I heard from my friend in Hong Kong. Here’s his letter to me:

Hi Lily,

You are lucky to live in a country in which the citizens are generally
well protected from all sorts of calamities.

To begin with wearing a mask cannot protect us from catching this deadly
virus. It just shows one is responsible and will not spread the virus,
fever or otherwise, to other people when he is sneezing or coughing. The
droplets blowing out from his body, if they are big or heavy enough,
should fall onto the ground within a metre. However, it appears that our
surgical mask though with a three layer structure cannot effectively
filter this new coronavirus which is like smoke particles are airborne
and can travel very far away.

We have learned many things from SARS on how to protect ourselves from
contagious diseases. Nobody is spiting. We use two pairs of chopsticks
when eating with friends and relative: one for picking the food from a
dish and the other one for putting the food into our mouth. The bread
and cakes on display are individually packed. Shop assistants are
wearing gloves to handle the food and the handling of the money is
always done by another person. We sanitize anything people have touched:
hand rails, lift buttons, table tops . . . and cleaning the floors at
regular intervals. It is now a habit as well as politeness for doing
these things.

We wash our hands with soap immediately on returning home. There are
hand sanitizers everywhere at malls, railway stations . . . where it is
not possible to wash our hands with soap and water. This coronavirus can
stay alive for up to 24 hours on the surface anything touched by people.
Therefore don’t rub your eyes or nose or tying to adjust your spectacles
which is more vulnerable than inhaling the airborne virus.

This is the reason why Hong Kongers are not happy with mainlanders and
immigrants who have not yet adopted our practice of public hygiene. We
cannot stop people, especially immigrants, from visiting China during
the Spring Festival. There are 300,000 people coming back from mainland
China after the public holiday. We believe many of them may have
contracted the disease without knowing it. I know my friends who had
visited China will stay at home to “quarantine” for two weeks.

British Airway and United Airlines have suspended all their flights to
China. We have stopped the inter-city high speed train and Chinese
travellers are not allowed to visit Hong Kong. We hope our government
will do as much as possible to limit the movement of people to avoid
spreading of the disease. Our hospitals are already over-crowded and
cannot handle more patients if we miss the “golden time” to contain the
outbreak of the disease. All our sports centres are now closed and no
more public events. People can work at their home, if possible.

It is not surreal or like a futuristic movie!

He sent this video from YouTube about one family’s life in Shanghai. He adds that it doesn’t reflect the life of ordinary people living in that city earning less than $2,000/month.

Yes, I am fortunate to live in Canada. We gripe about the weather, the cold and the heat, no rain, too much rain, etc. But we are really living in paradise right now. I shall suffer my cold in good spirit. The sun is coming through the windows. I see the spruce branches swaying in the wind. I’m in my pajamas all day. Don’t have to get out of them at all. The guy is doing Sheba’s afternoon walk. Who could ask for anything more?