On Feb 7, 2020 COVID-19 claimed the life of Li Wenliang, the doctor who first identified the novel virus and tried to warn his colleagues in Wuhan, China. For his troubles he was warned, threatened and then arrested by the Chinese government.
The public outcry was so loud, both in China and worldwide that he was released and later honored as a hero, shortly before the disease claimed his life.
In June of last year Li’s widow delivered a son. She wrote: “Husband, can you see this from heaven? You have given me your final gift today. I will of course love and protect them.” She had struggled through the pregnancy, burdened by fear and grief before finally giving birth to their second son. Her family initially hid his death from their other child, saying that “Dad went abroad.”
The Chinese have routinely glossed over the severity of the outbreak and their role in allowing its spread to a global pandemic. Even social media and the internet itself are closely controlled to allow the government to shape its narrative as it sees fit, but Dr. Li’s page on Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter, remains up and has become a rare space for users to express themselves about the trauma of the coronavirus pandemic. Others write to call for the media not to bother his family.
Today more than 105 million people have been infected by the virus and more than 2.3 million have died.
Richard Authier Lee is the author of the technothriller “HIGH GROUND” and a retired nonprofit executive. His novel is available on Amazon.com in paperback or eBook and as an audiobook on Audible.com and iTunes Audiobooks (in iTunes: Audiobooks/Mysteries and Thrillers/Richard Authier Lee-see below).