When Death is Rolling the Dice: A Student’s Reflection on the Coronavirus

When the air was full of joy; when everyone was busy preparing for the New Year, the first case of COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) appeared in a seafood market in Wuhan, China. On December 31, 2019, the sun started setting on humanity. One month later, Wuhan locked down, despite people travelling in and out for reunions during the Spring Festival. The virus spread throughout China like venom and frightened us like a devil. 

The night has come. 

Schools shut down, businesses closed, everyone was scared. The virus spread so fast and so unpredictably that it was almost like Death was rolling the dice for everyone. The usual Spring Festival was not “usual” anymore. Some families were separated, and some were worried about the sick and those who were stuck in Wuhan. Joy, which usually burst forth from the Spring Festival, now shivered in the cold winter night. 

The night grew colder, the wind felt like knives, cutting into everyone’s skin.

 The virus spread with ease as people easily flew everywhere around the globe on airplanes. The virus soon became a giant, grasping Europe, Australia, Korea, Japan, the U.S., and the earth in its palm. Airports closed, travel restrictions were applied, governments signed new decrees. But all the actions were too weak and fruitless compared to the power of nature. New cases of COVID-19 kept appearing, even in places where we least expected it to. 

At the beginning of the outbreak, China was, of course, the most affected region; its hospitals ran out of beds, medical supplies, and even doctors. Thousands of people waited outside in the cold air every day trying to squeeze into crowded hospitals. And hundreds of them didn’t make it in the doors. Some gave up, but most of them died waiting. 

The economy was badly damaged too. People couldn’t go to work, but businesses still had to pay their employees. Without income, many small and middle enterprises collapsed and many people lost their livelihoods. 

Meanwhile, I was still here in the U.S. My feelings were very complex. I was scared, my parents were still in China. Because no one on this earth had experienced this before, I was nervous, how long was this going to last? Was COVID-19 going to spread to where I was? Could we win against nature? I was relieved that there were not many cases near my parents. There was only one case in the U.S. at the time I wrote this piece. The death rate was not that scary. I was more annoyed because I couldn’t go back to China for Spring Break. I was uncertain because everything about this virus outbreak was unprecedented, and no one understood this virus.  

The darkness that spread with this virus was harsh, but a star came out, shining bright at the horizon, telling us that there was still light. 

 The Chinese government applied very effective measures by restricting travel in and out of the country and by ordering “social distancing” and stay-at-home orders which greatly affected everyday lives. Doctors from all over the country flew to Wuhan to aid the hospitals there. The Wuhan government officials ordered the construction of two brand-new hospitals that were built in just two short weeks. They also turned several sports stadiums into temporary hospitals. The problem of insufficient medical resources was quickly fixed. The devil was getting weaker and weaker; people weren’t gathering in public places, the sick were getting better. Since there were fewer targets to serve as hosts, the virus silently announced its defeat in China. Cities other than Wuhan were only getting one or two cases per day, and people’s lives were getting better and better. 

The night seems warmer now. The clouds disperse and show the moon. The light is not only a single region’s victory; it is the hope of the whole earth: this devil can be defeated. 

Despite the slow disappearance of the devil virus in China, it is not giving up on the rest of the world. Because it is so easy to get around our world, the virus is spreading all over the globe. And it is getting worse. Italy, Korea, the U.S., and other countries are experiencing the same attack that China just experienced. All around me, schools are shutting down, the number of cases is breaking one hundred, five hundred, a thousand, ten thousand… 

Even Rectory closed off contact with the outside world and started a distance-learning program like many other schools. Many off-campus activities have been cancelled and we stay on campus almost all the time. Now, my feelings are beginning to change from a month ago. Now the devil is coming at me; it is directly affecting my life now. I am scared. Will this devil come to my school? Is it already hiding in the community next to us? Will we experience the same lack of resources like Wuhan? I am relieved, the virus retreated from China, which means that my parents are safe now. I am surprised, the power of nature is way stronger than human power. I am worried. Will this virus be controlled like it is in China? How many people out there will lose their livelihoods because of this crisis? So many factors are uncertain, but with China’s example of success, I believe other countries can also find hope.

Thankfully, night is always followed by day. The sun will always rise again. We just have to live through the harsh night, together, with everything we have. Then the sun will shine upon humanity again, like it does every day.