Live from Hong Kong, China
The city of Wuhan.
Hundreds of millions of Chinese will celebrate the Chinese New Year this weekend.
We were just in Hubei Province two weeks ago but will not be returning to Wuhan for the new year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is closely monitoring the virus coming out of Wuhan:
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is closely monitoring an outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Chinese authorities identified the new coronavirus, which has resulted in hundreds of confirmed cases in China, including cases outside Wuhan, with additional cases being identified in a growing number of countries internationally. The first case in the United States was announced on January 21, 2020. There are ongoing investigations to learn more.
The virus has spread to other parts of the world:
A new form of respiratory virus — originating in the central Chinese city of Wuhan — has spread further in Asia and beyond, with confirmed cases reported in Hong Kong, Macao, Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Vietnam, Thailand, the U.S., France and Australia.
(The following is based on personal experience from the author of this post who lives in Hong Kong and has been to Wuhan and Hubei Province numerous times.)
It’s not too surprising that Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus in the news. The city is very populated and the roads are full of all types of traffic. The first time I visited Wuhan, more than 10 years ago, the ride from the airport to the city center was frightening. The taxi driver drove very fast while dodging cars, bikes, walkers, trucks, buses, etc….
Wuhan is the capital city of Hubei Province in the center of China. The city-wide area has a population of between and 8 and 13 million people depending on the source. Because it is the capital, citizens go to Wuhan to obtain marriage certificates and other documents from the government.
The city has tall buildings but the outlying areas are populated by small farmers who might have a few small fields where they grow rice and wheat and other crops for sale. The air is very polluted and you rarely see a blue sky. It’s like a permanent haze is over the city.
The people in Hubei province are very friendly and welcoming. During the Chinese New Year the population usually travels many miles to go back home to the rural areas for days of food and good times.
This year the government will not allow people out of Wuhan and now other cities. Last night we heard that the entire province of Hubei was shut down. This is very discouraging and frightening to individuals with family members in the province.
In the winter people stay warm with fires and electrical appliances. The winters can see snow with temperatures drop below freezing. There is no central heating or gas in the homes.
The city of Wuhan has invested millions in infrastructure improvements. Wuhan has a large new airport that is world class and better than most US airports. The city also has bullet trains that stop in Wuhan and take people throughout China in the same amount of time as some air flights. But mixed in with these improvements are still very poor people just outside the city.
The open markets include several types of meat and vegetables.