Everyday, new stories and videos are emerging from China of the reaction to the Wuhan Coronavirus outbreak.
People merely suspected of having contracting the virus being dragged away to certain infection in mass communal infirmaries. Others have been barricaded into their own homes. People from Wuhan have been beaten up on the streets of other provinces. Drones are being used to ‘parent’ people seen out and about without a mask on. Entire cities and blocks have been quarantined. Ill patients have deliberately sneezed over hospital receptionists failing to serve them fast enough. Social rights are being trampled upon left, right and centre.
Certainly, the Chinese Communist Party cannot be accused of not taking the outbreak seriously enough. The massive hospital-building exercise is something that Chinese officialdom seems keen to publicise and is a rapid and solid reaction to the outbreak. The resources that the Chinese Government is pouring into this crisis must be simply enormous.
We have numerous stories of heroes working in the coalface of the crisis. Doctors and nurses by the hundreds have been heading down to Hubei to help treat sick patients. Medical professionals working multiple shifts back-to-back literally have been collapsing on the job. And all medical professionals working with infected patients are putting themselves at great risk. Many others are continuing to place themselves at risk to keep the wheels of agriculture, extraction, production, commerce and government turning.
However, many of the responses seem to be verging on either the cruel, or the inane.
Spraying the streets with massive amounts of disinfectant may well be the cause of future health trouble and environmental damage.
Mass quarantines are mixing the sick and the healthy, and moving people unnecessarily. Once the virus is out in the general population, city quarantines are more or less useless. It would be better to allow individuals to take their own precautions and let life run along as normally as possible.
Citizen journalists and whistleblower doctors are being censored or have disappeared.
And shuttering the economy risks a gamut of secondary effects with the potential to cause greater harm than the virus itself.
You may look at the Chinese and think that these things could not happen elsewhere. I wish I were so sanguine. Any government and any society is capable of brutality, crassness or stupidity under such circumstances. None has a monopoly on inhumanity.
If the pandemic strikes, your “true colours” will show through. Panic marks a lack of perspective and inner peace.
Preppers are always talking about the importance of having stocks of food and a bolt-hole in the countryside, and the moment they – and their nemeses, big government types (!) – have been anticipating may fast be drawing in, but it is equally important to be mentally and morally prepared and to have determined in your mind prior to a crisis hitting how you will respond.
Will you keep the virus to yourself, if sick?
Will you show compassion towards the weak and vulnerable?
Will you keep on working while everyone else is shutting down?
Will you have peace knowing that your life is God’s to take or to preserve?
If the mob mind of enraged communities is dangerous, governments’ ability to crush the human spirit is even greater. Government officials should also be asking themselves important questions.
Will you tell the truth?
Will you act with competence and skill?
Will you be proportionate in their response, and once you realise you are powerless to contain the virus, drill back your earlier overreaction, and allow for individual action, when your gut reaction is to find mass solutions?
Will you defend human dignity realising that humanity is bigger than this one crisis?
So, whatever else happens, keep a sense of perspective, knowing that as it is “appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgement, so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.”
And keep your humanity knowing that “man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”