Post-Covid Life in China

In major cities across China, employees have returned to offices, students are situated in their school desks, and crowds congregate outside of restaurants during the dinner rush. While wearing a surgical mask, although it’s no longer mandated outside of subways and other congested places, has become a habit in many ways, normal life has resumed in China, the country where COVID-19 first appeared one year ago.

But how were they able to contain it so much faster than most other developed countries? Fighting and containing an outbreak of a virus that transmits person-to-person through mere proximity is a nearly impossible task in such a fast-paced and connected world. Despite that, China’s government and people were able to restrain it within their borders. Through the Chinese people’s dedication to the strict measures placed upon them, a rapid decline in the number of new cases and deaths was celebrated much sooner than the rest of the world.

In that context, China has become a success story in containing the virus.

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The reality is that through China’s collective action, they were able to stop the spread. It’s not to go without saying that this strategy is more applicable in a society or political system such as China. The public is more compliant and committed to the welfare of their society as a whole so compared to western ideals, where people operate with individual motives in mind, it’s a lot more feasible to meet a collective goal.

Having this spirit of commitment, community interest, and sense of duty is essential for any successful public campaign.

The cost of compliance

The large-scale quarantine and social distancing locked in millions of people and resulted in mental welfare concerns and economic derailment. So did it work? Was it worth it?

Well, by comparing the “感染 (gǎn  rǎn) infections” that still torments the US, for example, it can be said that extreme measures from the government bodies are well worth it.

“隔离 (gé  lí) quarantining” was the first step, which Chinese citizens took very seriously. There were delivery services working overtime to keep people comfortable inside as much as possible.

Wearing a mask is another essential step to bringing Chinese life back to normal. “戴口罩 (dài  kǒu  zhào) wearing a gauze mask has been shown to curtail the spread of the infection and this was already an accepted part of Chinese society so people easily complied. It is commonplace to wear a mask in everyday life if one feels ill to show consideration to coworkers or classmates.

How the economy started to get back on track

Thanks to the economic phenomenon in China such as the ”地摊经济(dì tān jīng jì) stall economy” among other variables, China’s economy has posted its strongest growth in two years after completing a rapid recovery from the slump caused by the Covid-19 pandemic at the start of 2020.

China’s success was only partially due to Beijing’s rapid response to the pandemic after cases were first detected in Wuhan. The government only gets partial credit since mistakes were made.

The citizens are the true heroes in this scenario.

Not only that but there were untold numbers of volunteers that helped make life more bearable. In the city of Wuhan alone, they had 1.5 million registered volunteers, or 14 percent of its permanent population, official statistics show. Barbers were offering haircuts to healthcare workers, and people stepped up to help by taking patients and healthcare workers to hospitals by acting as taxis. Public transport has been stopped so healthcare workers have been said to cycle for up to two hours to get to work. The volunteers literally helped save the day.

Crowds have returned to Wuhan’s famous Jianghan shopping street, which was deserted this time last year. and people are gathering with their families to celebrate holidays and festivals as usual.

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Even if the virus does make a comeback, which it has, people are quick to go into lockdown and new facilities are put into place to help quell the virus again. New safety measures have been put in place so future recurrences are easier to navigate. Virtually everyone has a smartphone app that indicates if they have been in an infected area and it must be shown to gain admission to many office buildings, shopping centers, and tourist sites.

It’s apparent by the life residents have returned to that working on developing resilient systems against infectious diseases should be one of the top priorities of any country. China embraced resilience in its battle against COVID-19 and now people are enjoying more freedoms from “normal life” than many other countries.

But the biggest takeaway from this is that if society can rally together to work collectively for the betterment of the whole and come up with creative solutions for income everybody will benefit sooner and with fewer casualties and be able to live a life as close to ‘normal’ as possible.

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