Wuhan’s traumatized residents warn that the lifting of lockdowns is “not the end”

Wuhan, the central Chinese city where the novel coronavirus outbreak began late last year, finally lifted its lockdown today after 77 days. Even as signs of normality return to its streets and malls, however, it’s clear that the psychological trauma of the experience will last for a long time to come.

As the disease has spread around the world, with reported cases and deaths in the US and other European countries now far outstripping that of China and once unimaginable lockdowns now becoming the norm everywhere, the early days of the pandemic in Wuhan now feel like distant memories. At the start of the lockdown there, videos and posts circulated widely on Chinese social networks depicting the desperation of the situation. Hospitals were overwhelmed amid an acute shortage of testing kits and beds. One viral video showed a woman banging a homemade gong (link in Chinese) while crying for help on the balcony of her apartment, as her sick mother could not be admitted into the hospital.

The city’s people say they’ll carry the emotional scars of living through that period with them forever.

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