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Life outside China -- Exodus of Old China Hands


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 @roddy -- 

Who else do we have in the US, bar @abcdefg? Things there make the UK look organised, was wondering what the on-the-ground reports were...


Report from a displaced 中国通 in America. Getting by in the Time of the Virus.


Some of the incorporated suburbs of Dallas have recently passed a "shelter in place" order that means everyone needs to stay home if they are not going to and from their "essential" jobs or shopping for groceries/prescription pharmaceuticals. Other suburbs nearby have adopted a "libertarian" stance in which they decline to do that because it would infringe citizen rights. It has created a patchwork quilt. 


The small town in which I live has been a little more relaxed up to now. Many restaurants open for takeout. I have personally found grocery stores to be clean and orderly. They have hired quite a few temporary workers to wipe down the shelves and put up arriving supplies. They no longer have 27 brands of breakfast cereal, which I always found somewhat ridiculous in the first place. Fruit and vegetables and meat are coming in fresh, again with slightly less selection, but no way could it be considered a hardship. 


The local hospital (where I worked for many years) is seeing patients more or less as usual, with temperature screening as one enters the premises. No tent on the parking lot. More personal protective equipment in use. Texas has started way too late and has dedicated way to little effort into preventive medical measures. I doubt they can ever catch up. People arriving from Louisiana are required to self quarantine, as mentioned above. Lots of the things the officials are doing now seem to be mainly for show. They are closing the barn door after they cows have escaped and scattered.  


I am having a new roof put on. Spoke with the contractor an hour ago (Monday morning) and he said everything is still on schedule. They will bring out the new shingles and other materials this afternoon, and will do the actual work tomorrow and the next day if it's not raining. He said he still has adequate labor crews. (Construction is deemed an "essential occupation.") 


Banks have closed their lobbies, as have most other businesses. Drive-through service is still available for check cashing and deposits. E-banking is less developed in small-town Texas than it is in China. 


Nobody here wears masks. Hand sanitizer has been sold out for over a month. I still meet people when out and about who want to shake hands. They give me a look when I decline. Happened as recently as yesterday. 


Republicans and Democrats are squabbling about how to administer a big, headline-grabbing aid package. So the actual grass roots response gets delayed. An ER doctor friend in Atlanta told me last week that during his last shift his hospital had 31 needy candidates for each available ventilator. They are having to do very difficult triage. Despite having written guidelines available, the burden falls on the doctor explaining things to the relatives. 


Texas Medical Association, of which I am still a member, has prevailed on the legislature to allow retired physicians to return to limited practice, mainly doing telemedicine handling less pressing patient inquiries and concerns. I phoned them and learned that the regulation only applies to physicians who retired 2 years ago or less. I hung up my spurs/stethoscope a decade ago, so unfortunately cannot contribute in that manner. (Probably a good thing since I'm woefully/dangerously out of date.) 


Yesterday I dug out some Chinese textbooks for review. Also look forward to improving my penmanship/calligraphy.

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I live in Miami, Florida.


Life is still pretty normal here, which is worrying.


We have a non binding "shelter in place", but many people are not heeding it, since there is no enforcement.


Most restaurants are open for takeout only.


I work in an engineering firm, and we still go to the office, as so does many other firms.


Supermarkets are open, but hours are modified.


Only about 50% of people are wearing masks in public, and even those who do, many of them do the non-committal mask (where the mask only covers there mouth or hangs around there neck).

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8 hours ago, abcdefg said:

adopted a "libertarian" stance in which they decline to do that because it would infringe citizen rights

A church in Washington state asked it's choir members to practice as usual on 10 March.  They provided hand sanitizer and asked people not to hug.  


60 members showed up for the practice.  The results were terrible:  The LA Times reports:  Nearly three weeks later, 45 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 or ill with the symptoms, at least three have been hospitalized, and two are dead."  It's an unfortunate experiment on the results of a what libertarian stances might yield.  (We don't need no social distancing...." said with great irony)


It also shows the importance of respiratory transmission.  The article also notes:  "The World Health Organization has downplayed the possibility of transmission in aerosols, stressing that the virus is spread through much larger “respiratory droplets,” which are emitted when an infected person coughs or sneezes and quickly fall to a surface."  


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Note that for all we know, everyone there was infected, since tests were carried out on only some. The key sentence buried in the article:


"Health officials said all 28 choir members who were tested for COVID-19 were found to be infected."


I think they thought the virus wouldn't touch them there, a ruralish area 60 miles north of Seattle.


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On 3/30/2020 at 7:41 PM, Dawei3 said:

It also shows the importance of respiratory transmission. 


A good friend in Kunming sent me some N95 face masks. She mailed them on March 20th; they arrived this afternoon, less than two weeks later. Can't begin to tell you how grateful I am. Didn't know whether they would make it through customs or not. 


I have also ordered a few from Amazon, but have been informed they won't reach me until the middle of June. 

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