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Saturday, April 25, 2020

April 25, 2020
image: wikipedia

The world has learned many lessons from the Chinese city of Wuhan.
From consistent handwashing to social distancing, the ground zero of COVID-19 taught the world what to do and what not to do. Now, after two months under a lockdown, there’s one more lesson Wuhan has to teach us.

While the mandatory quarantines do wonders for temporarily mitigating the spread of the coronavirus formally known as SARS-CoV-2, draconian measures are devastating for those living under them.
According to Bloomberg News, Wuhan’s lockdown is now drawing to a close as Chinese officials claim to have largely stamped out outbreaks of the novel coronavirus in the country.
Even with the newfound freedom, business owners are now realizing that months of living in fear of COVID-19 has not had a good effect on residents of the city.
One restaurant owner profiled by Bloomberg was a China success story before the pandemic, but now faces financial ruin.
Xiong Fei, owner of Bainianfeng Catering Management Co., operated 10 restaurants before the appearance of SARS-CoV-2 on the scene. Many of his eateries were centered around “hotpot” — a feast that is equal parts social event and hearty meal, where friends and family dip vegetables and thin-sliced meat into a fragrant broth.
Now, the last thing anyone wants to do is huddle around a table to share a communal hotpot.
His other restaurants are suffering as well. While customers would come in and dine before, now they only want to pick up to-go orders. The damage to his business is already beginning to pile up.
When the virus hit Wuhan seemingly out of the blue, Xiong preemptively closed shop and was left with over $140,000 worth of fresh ingredients that were going bad.
Xiong shifted to meal delivery, but companies that hire the drivers and facilitate moving the food take a hefty chunk of the restaurateur’s profits.
Battling operating costs, high rent, and the problem of how to get his food to a city where the population is terrified to enter public life, the business owner had to make a difficult decision to keep his company afloat.
Xiong was forced to let 40 employees go.
This struggling business owner and his former employees are not a unique case, but members of one of the many industries struggling under lockdowns.
Sadly, their stories are becoming all too common.
“The city, once a bustling hub for steel and auto manufacturing, remains gripped by fear of reinfection,” Bloomberg reported. “Companies are testing employees before they’re allowed back to work and disinfecting their premises daily. If a customer or worker gets the virus, businesses typically have to shut down again for weeks of quarantine — something even the most painstakingly prepared business plan can’t predict.”
It’s unclear how long cities will take to bounce back from the massive labor shakeup, but the sharp drop in employment is sure to stay in this community’s collective memory for years to come.
While Bloomberg claims that factories and other facilities are having no problems giving people work, news that has percolated through Chinese censors hints that crafty managers are simply manipulating power consumption to put up a show of meeting Beijing’s demands.
It appears that some parts of the United States, now in lockdown over the coronavirus, are primed to repeat the lessons Wuhan learned the hard way.
Los Angeles, which has been under some form of lockdown for a month, now has a 50 percent unemployment rate according to Business Insider.
The coronavirus does kill people, but burdensome lockdowns destroy lives and communities.
Americans are more than capable of masking up, washing hands, practicing social distancing, and returning to work in a safe and healthy way.