China 2020: Year of the Rat – What I Don’t Miss

My last post was on What I Miss about China

This one’s TL;DR is the Novel Coronavirus

A. The Coronavirus

  1. Getting your temperature checked everywhere:
    • Airports
    • On the highways
    • Walking into hotels
  2. Constant fear mongering on state owned media either about the news or PSAs on:
    • How / Encouraging you to wear a face mask 1
    • How to wash your hands properly
    • What to do if you get sick
  3. The smell of disinfectant everywhere:
    • Walkways
    • Elevator lifts
    • Restaurants2
    • Car parks
    • Public transport
  4. Government mandated closure of most except important services related to living this meant that the following things were closed:
    • Any tourist attraction such as Disney Land, parks and museums – which meant I couldn’t do or see anything
    • Non-food related shops – which meant I couldn’t buy anything
    • Gyms and sports stadiums – which meant I couldn’t play basketball and was limited to doing basic exercises at home/the hotel
  5. It meant that all I could do outside of seeing family was eat and go for walk locally, because I was forbidden by the elders of my clan to travel on public transport.
  6. Getting kicked out of the hotel, because they only had 3 rooms occupied.3
  7. Being forced to self quarantine for work. See this post about some misconceptions.

What is the incubation period? Why do I keep hearing 14 days? Is this scary?

The incubation period so far shows a period of 2-7 days with a 95% confidence interval, with median cases at 4.8 days. The 14 day limit is the current maximum theorized incubation period from a Zhejiang case study. The exact maximum is difficult to know because this is based on patient survey and contact reconstruction and prone to error, but 14 days is the “safe” upper bound so far. This figure is similar to the ~5 day incubation for SARS. There is no need to panic about this as it’s very normal viral behavior.

1 This included celebrities doing the encouraging, “not just for you, but for the nation” type of rah rah

2 Story Time: Whilst having my usual breakfast Xiao Long Bao, I noticed every time a customer got up and left, waiters would swoop in and disinfect the table, as well as doing regular sprays around high traffic areas of the restaurant such as where people pay. They also removed publicly accessible chopsticks and spoon trays, which you had to now ask for.

3 Story Time: The hotel I was staying is considered 2nd Tier so equivalent to a 4 star hotel. The hotel is actually owned by the Government, and where government officials if they are required around the district. It was discovered there were only 3 occupied rooms, through a neighbour that stayed in the room opposite to ours. She was Chinese but lived in Germany and has been in Shanghai to run a few errands for the last 3 weeks. She rang our bell to confirm that we were all being kicked out and also mentioned the 3rd customer was a long stay occupant, living in the hotel for 3 months.

B. Other Things

  1. Lack of blue sky and clean air all the time
  2. No coverage of the NBA – A General Manager of a NBA Tweeted a Pro Hong Kong statement, which the Chinese didn’t like and ghosted the NBA
  3. The need for VPN to access Western Internet – Gmail, Facebook, Instagram, Google. But surprisingly Whatsapp works.