Researcher has faith in fight against disease

By Li Lei | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2020-02-03 08:20

Stephen C. McClure, a US research associate at Wuhan University's Key Laboratory of Information Engineering in Surveying, Mapping and Remote Sensing


I live alone in Wuhan, and everything is good.


I have been working at Wuhan University for nine years, helping students, faculty and staff polish academic papers. Before that, I was at George Mason University in the United States. A visiting professor invited me to work in Wuhan for a year, and after that, I decided to stay longer.


I first heard about the coronavirus in the last week in December, from the foreign affairs personnel at our lab. At first, it was an unexplained cluster of cases associated with a local market. At the time nobody was certain how it was transmitted, and whether it was animal-to-human or otherwise.


Many of us began taking precautions, such as staying away from crowded places, washing hands, not taking crowded elevators and wearing masks in some cases.


These are the same type of precautions recommended during the cold and flu season. I only began wearing a mask after the lockdown started on Jan 23. Right now, I am following the public health recommendations, and staying in my apartment as much as possible. Currently, I am trying to figure out if I can work remotely, reading papers at home.... A health hotline has been set up so that foreigners at our lab can get medical help, if necessary. The biggest problem is eating.


I used not to cook because there are so many good places to eat, but now all of those restaurants, canteens and shops are locked down. I had no supplies, and my stove was not working. A friend contacted the resident committee... and some people came and made sure my stove worked.


I went to the grocery store today, and everything was orderly. There were no shortages; but then again, I was there early and a line was forming at the vegetables.


In this health emergency, it is everybody's responsibility to protect others and ourselves. I do not want to spread the disease and I do not want to catch what other people have. Currently, you cannot drive. There is no public transportation. My friends are scattered across Wuhan, and right now, all over China and the world, since it was Spring Festival. The only way to get in contact is by phone and messaging tools like WeChat and QQ.


The US government airlifted a group of Americans out of the city. I decided to stay. I have a job here. I have friends here. It is a commitment and a contract. This thing will pass.


Stephen C. McClure talked with Li Lei.