Written by Cate Cadell and Thomas Suen
WUHAN, China – In Wuhan, China, the original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, city residents are returning to normal life, although they continue to struggle with memories of the early outbreak, which struck fear in the city.
It has been almost seven months since the city recorded a local transmission of the disease due to a severe blockade across the city and events of mass testing of nearly all of the city’s 11 million residents.
Today, restaurants, shopping streets and bars are crowded, but locals are still experiencing the lasting impact of locking on mental health and work.
has asked people across Wuhan to share pictures and videos they took during their outbreak, as well as their hopes of 2021 as the city approaches its one-year anniversary of the outbreak. City health services released the first public announcement of the then unknown virus on December 31, 2019.
Like the city itself, most people are permanently optimistic, even though they think about the most difficult year of the city in their last memory.
JUNMING, WUHAN VOLUNTEER
He worked as a volunteer during the city’s strict closure in 76 days, delivering food to people trapped in their homes.
“Back then I could only eat one meal a day because there was really a lot of work, but there were very few people who did that, so I was very worried.
“I hope the whole city will prosper in 2021.
“It can be said that in 2020, there were no people on the streets of all of Wuhan – only animals were active outside.”
ZHANG XINGHAO, LEADING SINGER OF THE WUHAN BAND ‘CRAZY RAT’
“I couldn’t do anything at home at the time. It was very boring, so I thought I had to write music and sing some songs to find fun in my life.
“It made me think about many things and for the first time in my life I experienced such a catastrophe.
“The epidemic must not be ignored. I see that news about foreign countries has a lot of contagion, so it must not be ignored. We should not think that we are very powerful. In fact, I think we humans are quite fragile.”
DUAN LING, 36, BRANCH
Duan’s husband Fang Yushun caught COVID-19 in February while working as a surgeon.
“I had a birthday on the day he was hospitalized during the epidemic, and he spent one day editing and sending me a video. So I felt very touched.
“We’ve experienced a lot of things in 2020 and I want to say goodbye to 2020. But in the new year, I wish we could have a baby.”
LAI YUN, 38, OWNER OF A JAPANESE RESTAURANT
“Right now, each of us in Wuhan feels like time is flying very fast. It’s like closing the city seems just like yesterday.”
Lai said he cherishes memories of his children performing in the family living room.
“I think the inspiration that COVID-19 gives us is that a healthy body is more important than anything else.”
WU MENGJING, 22, DESIGN STUDENT
“I think the Wuhan epidemic has affected too many people. Many companies have gone bankrupt and the residents have been unemployed. This has a big impact on the overall development of Wuhan.
“I am very concerned that there will be a second wave in Wuhan, because the epidemic has recurred in various parts of the country, and the number of students in Wuhan is particularly large.”
JIANG HONGHUA, 34, STREET FOOD SELLER
“During the epidemic, our whole family is together, and this time it is very rare and I felt very happy,” Jiang said, sharing photos of her son and daughter playing.
“I thought my 2020 was actually okay – I felt happy to be able to sustain the whole family. I hope to be able to do well in 2021.”
LIU RUNLIAN, 58, STREET DANCE
“It’s coming in 2021 and I don’t expect much from myself. But I want to live a peaceful life and I hope everyone is safe.”