3 Days That Stopped The World
In mid-January of 2020, as the festivities of the Chinese New Year begin, two journalists head from Beijing to Wuhan to cover a story on a new type of pneumonia. On the trip to Wuhan, it’s clear that many people have not heard a single thing about the virus as many are not wearing masks. The airport and train stations are flooded with passengers heading home to celebrate.
Information about the virus is hard to get, but health authorities initially say that all the cases are people who worked and lived inside Wuhan’s Huanan Seafood Market. So the market is closed.
Originally the announcement was that it was not a serious threat and that human-to-human transmission was only a small possibility. The streets are crowded, and people don’t seem worried in the least. In fact, many believe that the online reports of sickness and death are just malicious rumors.
However, a taxi driver seems to know that something is wrong and he gives details about the still ‘unknown’ disease which has fewer symptoms than SARS and leads to a slower death. Most importantly, the driver states that the disease is not limited to only Wuhan.
After being illegally detained and blocked from interviewing or taking pictures outside the market, the journalist heads to the hospital. As there is not a COVID-19 test available as yet, suspected patients are given a chest x-ray to check for infection in the lungs before isolating them. This means that all patients and staff are exposed to the virus. The hospitals are crowded and people stand in long queues waiting to be tested.
Finally, the announcement is made that person-to-person infection is confirmed. And suddenly everything changes drastically overnight and anxiety takes over. Fleeing Wuhan becomes the trending hashtag as hundreds of thousands try to leave the city before the lockdown takes effect.
The Chinese government censured the reports, and journalists were no longer allowed to film or ask questions. The restrictions were so tough that at least nine Chinese journalists were either arrested or disappeared since the lockdown began.
This COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world indefinitely. Find out how it started now.