In Marco Island, my in-laws, my husband and I were a paranoid foursome who stuck out in every crowd. When we ventured out to a popular ice cream shop, we were horrified that none of the customers waiting in line or the staff serving the scoops were wearing masks. Shortly after we flew back to D.C., my husband and I came down with the virus.
When I told my family in Wuhan, they were in disbelief. In six months, it feels like China and the United States have swapped places: Wuhan, where it all started, has reported zero cases and found just 300 asymptomatic carriers since late May, while some U.S. states are seeing thousands of new cases daily. On Sunday, Florida set a single-day record in the United States, with more than 15,000 cases.
My mother is baffled by the U.S. pandemic response: “Americans just won’t listen,” she would tell me with frustration. She is used to seeing Chinese authorities aggressively stomp out every flare-up of the virus. In mid-May, Wuhan swabbed 9 million residents in a “10-day battle” in response to a handful of new cases. Recently, a video that went viral on Chinese social media showed a woman crying hysterically after receiving her positive test result in a Beijing shopping mall. In six days, contact tracers in Beijing identified and quarantined all 292 people who had close contact with her for further testing.