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Wash your hands for at least 20 seconds

Posted February. 10, 2020 07:54,   

Updated February. 10, 2020 07:54


The biggest topic on social media channels these days is “Wuhan.” If you type in “Inside Wuhan” or “Wuhan diary,” you will come to find heartbreaking stories of people in Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus. You may feel scared and sad to see empty streets as silent as death and to hear grumbling of people who have lost hope.

In the wake of coronavirus epidemics, anti-Chinese sentiment among people in the West including the U.S. and Europe is escalating to become comprehensive antipathy against people of Asia. The most severe insult in the U.S. these days is reportedly “You are a Chinese, right”’ More people are reportedly hearing such booing while walking down the street in the U.S. Westerners thus collectively mock Asians as well as ethnic Chinese, saying, “You all look largely similar each other.” People who are increasingly losing rationality are as scary as diseases and epidemics per se.

△ “You might have to drag me off the ship when the quarantine ends.”

A growing number of confirmed coronavirus patients are being reported in the Japanese cruise ship Diamond, which is docked at the Japanese port of Yokohama. Conflicts mount as more than 2,700 passengers are kept in isolation within the cruise ship. When news reports said meals are not properly served, an American passenger refuted on Twitter, saying they are served with sumptuous food every day. “After isolation is lifted, you may have to ‘drag’ me out of the ship,” he joked. He thus bragged that living condition in the ship is so favorable that he may choose to stay put there even after the lifting of isolation in the future. “Drag’ is a verb and noun that has multiple meanings, including “puffing of cigarette.”

△“Wash your hands for the amount of time it takes to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ twice, about 20 seconds.”

This reporter checked the new coronavirus page of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website. The site advises people to wash their hands for at least 20 seconds. Singing the song “Happy Birthday” twice takes 20 seconds to complete. This reporter tried and sang the song twice to find me sing increasingly faster.

Mi-Kyung Jung mickey@donga.com