Who’s really affected by the coronavirus?
BY Managing Mosaic Editor
Swine flu. Severe acute respiratory syndrome. Ebola. Now, the current outbreak, coronavirus. For students who were too young to understand these past outbreaks, the recent coronavirus spread seems especially terrifying. However, for Chinese students, the fear and repercussions are greater. Numerous international students are unable to attend school due to the travel bans placed on flights from China. Students still in China report they are unable to leave, as explained by international student Xingyu Lu, who is in his hometown in China.
“People stay at home all day,” Xingyu Lu says. “There is barely anyone on the street. The public transportations are still on but very few people [are] still using them. My parents have to wear masks to go outside. They even require me to put on a mask while going outside.”
To make matters worse, the constant fear of the virus in China prevents simple tasks, such as going outside and getting fresh air. For students currently living in China, going out to retrieve basic necessities, such as food and water, is a scary prospect with the looming presence of coronavirus.
Will Aodu, another Chinese student who was held back in China due to the travel bans, faces this constant anxiety due to the situation in China.
“So everyone is pretty much stuck at home, although we can still buy supplies, but no one would want to go outside because of the fear of coronavirus,” Aodu says. “You can only see [a] few people on the street everyday, and they are wearing face mask[s] all the time.”
Although some Chinese students, such as Lu and Aodu, are not from Wuhan, where the outbreak started, the consequences of the virus have spread throughout the country. Most students living in China are unable to venture outside their residences, except to occasionally get groceries and essentials in certain districts. People’s freedom to leave their houses depends on which district they are from. Suburban areas are granted more freedoms than urban ones. However, the conditions within the host city of coronavirus, Wuhan, is especially bleak.
Wenjin Wang, an international student living in Wuhan, is especially surprised by the desperate situation taking place within his hometown.
“The whole city has been shut down, which I have never seen since I was born,” Wang states in an email message. “To avoid the further spread of [the] Coronavirus, people are required to stay at home. We’ve been staying at home for a month. [The] Government provides us food and other necessities through the delivery service.”
International students who managed to arrive in America still feel the backlash of coronavirus from thousands of miles away. Initially, sophomore Yuting Wei was not concerned about the virus and was not ready to leave her country so soon during her winter break, but she left upon her parents’ insistence, as they warned her it would be best to leave China. Luckily for Wei, she just made the cutoff date for Chinese passengers being allowed to enter America. Although Wei was seemingly safe in America, she was afraid for those around her because of the risk that she may be carrying coronavirus.
“It’s like an ethical dilemma for me because I think I don’t have the virus because I didn’t have contact with anyone, but I’m not sure because I went on the high-speed train,” Wei says. “Although I wear [a] mask, I cannot be sure. I was like I don’t wanna be the one to bring [the] virus to the United States. I didn’t have any other symptoms, though, so I’m fine, but I was anxious.”
Like Wei, Tingru Nan entered the country before restrictions were placed on travelers from China. However, she couldn’t help but feel guilty that other Chinese students weren’t able to come to school and escape the desperate situation in China. With so many Chinese students unaffected by the virus and still unable to leave their homes, they want support, rather than fear, from the community here at the university.
“I hope UD can give them enough support to help them go through this difficult situation,” Nan says. “I hope UD students can see what’s going on in China and do not be scared of any students, as the situation is indeed getting better.”