Charles C.Y. Xu ’14 | November 13, 2020
I was six in 1999, when I moved from Wuhan, Hubei, China to Cedar Falls, Iowa, USA — from the center of the Middle Kingdom to the heartland of America. Having grown up eating cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets with my Happy Meals in China, I distinctly remember my shock to find there were McDonald’s in the United States of America too. I am a child of globalization, a force that has connected everyone in the world in intricately interdependent ways. The same force has caused COVID-19 to spread so widely and quickly.
Wuhan was quarantined on January 23, 2020. My plans of visiting over the summer with my girlfriend to see my extended family in China went out the window. I video chatted with my grandmother in early February and the reality of the situation set in. She had been shut in her apartment for weeks, not even venturing out for groceries. She cried as she told me her best friend of over 60 years had passed away of COVID-19 after developing symptoms only 10 days prior. There was an outbreak in the small housing community where my mother grew up, and my grandmother personally knew nine people who died of COVID-19. She herself was prepared to die, too. Thankfully, she survived the outbreak and the strict quarantine, which has since been lifted. As COVID-19 spread around the world, I have since gone from worrying about my grandmother in Wuhan to my American host family grandmother in Cedar Falls, as well as my girlfriend’s grandparents who live in a nursing home in Ontario, Canada. Montreal, where I am writing, is currently under Level 4-Maximum Alert level lockdown. Viruses know no borders.
Luckily, science knows no borders either. Scientists and researchers from all over the world are racing against the clock to better understand all aspects of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the COVID-19 disease it causes, including the origins of the virus, its genetic and molecular basis, improved detection of infection, enhanced primary care for patients. They are also developing therapies and vaccines.
Read more here.