A Sneeze Heard Around the World

I just returned from a weekend trip to New York City. Let me tell you that after walking all around Manhattan with my wife, my hands are raw from the oh-so many times she had me wash my hands. Our meals were chosen based on what was not in the open salad bars and where we could sit at a table with a bit more space separating us from our fellow diners. We donned leather winter gloves in order to open doors and hold handrails, but we didn’t wear our face masks. We brought them, but except for two families we encountered, it was not the mode of dress in Florida nor NY airports. If the Coronavirus continues it just might be the norm.

We passed the Bank of China located on the Avenue of America in Manhattan. The giant tv screen was showing scenes from China and we surmised that the video was most probably not current because people weren’t wearing masks. We never made it to lower Manhattan and Chinatown.

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) continues to spread from country to country infecting individuals of all ages and nationality. It’s impact has evolved into the latest serious health issue; worldwide. With no available cure, those afflicted develop at the very least flu like symptoms. If the virus attacks the lungs the illness takes on the most feared mode and can be fatal as it slowly destroys the lung tissues.

This new epidemic has resulted in a host of economic, social and moral problems. Since the Coronavirus originated in China, a new phobia has appeared. Asian-Americans are feeling scrutinized and victimized. If they happen to cough in public, the crowd of people in their immediate vicinity have been known to turn and scamper away. If an Asian-American sneezes; instead of a “gesundheit”, they get a suspicious stare.

Cruise ships in Asia have been shunned as they dock in port after port and the number of passengers testing positive have shown how really daunting the situation has become.

Establishments in large cities in the USA, that are owned and run by Asian-American have experienced a major drop in business. This includes restaurants, beauty parlors and nail salons.

A Danish newspaper has printed a picture of the Flag of China replacing the five stars with five symbols of the star-like shaped Coronavirus. The French newspaper Le Courrier Picard had a headline that read “Alerte Jaune “, Yellow Alert. The German magazine Der Speigel had a cover headline “Coronavirus- Made in China”.

The Coronavirus is a threat to the health of people everywhere and especially in China. The World Health Organization (WHO) has teams in place in China and the world’s medical experts are working furiously for a vaccine.

Despite the trade tensions between the US and China, these two economies continue to cooperate to keep businesses functioning and to deal with the virus. Japan, with the third largest economy is having the most economic difficulties at this time.

Donations to China

The George H. W. Bush Foundation for US-China Relations has taken the lead in charitable donations to China. In cooperation with private sector corporations, the foundation has shipped 550,000 Made in America medical grade surgical masks to the Beijing and Chengdu local governments for free distribution. They have secured additional funding for 2 million masks.
David Firestein, president and CEO of the Bush China Foundation agrees with the Chinese saying: ‘feng yu tong zhou ‘ – ‘wind and rain, we all are in the same boat’.

Walmart and Chubb donated 2 million masked that were shipped for free to China by FedEx. Z Lab Global of Houston, Texas has an early detection kit that will be available. The Silk Road International Chamber of Commerce based in Hong Kong has located and procured face masks produced in Panama, Mexico, and Turkey to help ease the severe shortages.

Employees of a Sino American bank in Los Angeles has pledged to donate $200,000 to support relief efforts to help China battle the epidemic. Another $200,000 is being collected by the Chinese University Alumni Association Alliance of Southern California.

E-Commerce Steps Up

The most creative and responsive contributions in the battle against the virus comes from high tech and emerging technologies. They are helping with remote diagnosis and in medical screening for large crowds of people.
CloudMinds, is utilizing intelligent robots to tackle epidemic prevention and control, including isolation ward service robots, delivery service robots, hospital disinfection and cleaning robots and mobile patrol temperature measurement robots.

Ground zero of the epidemic is the city of Wuhan with a population of 11 million residents. The entire city is in lockdown. This unprecedented response should convince even the most skeptical that this is serious. There are no people or cars in the streets, and the smell of disinfectant is heavy and thick in the air. Yet the hospitals must continue to function as the only hub of activity.

Food Delivery

J.D. com Inc. and it’s drivers have delivered 71,500 tons of rice, flour and other grains, which is 20 times more than was delivered in previous years. E-commerce has filled the vacuum created by the reality of citizens being afraid to go out in public. Home delivery of the basic necessities has filled the gap.

Latte Delivery

With face masks and gloves after disinfecting themselves the young staffers at the Wakanda Youth Coffee Shop are on a mission. They have decided to deliver free of charge, 500 cups of coffee twice a day to the dedicated medical staff at two local hospitals. The baristas have created an assembly line to make piping hot lattes delivered to faceless medical professionals in full body protective gear. Masked strangers are risking their lives to give masked medical personnel a little comfort with lattes in an act of human kindness.

About the Author: Jake Tewel holds a Masters Degree from YU, a wine seller, caterer and a million miler for the past 15 years. Jake is a best friend, great neighbor, your go to travel person, father, grandfather and loving husband. He is now focusing his efforts on heart healthy nutrition, exercise and travel.