Friday is the second day China has reported no new local infections for the first time since the coronavirus crisis began three months ago, reaching a milestone in its battle with the deadly outbreak that has upended daily life and economic activity around the world.
The virus has killed 3,245 people in China so far, making up over a third of the global toll.
News 15’s Cassie Schirm sat down for an exclusive interview with one Louisiana native who’s been experiencing it first hand.
Many of us are spending more time at home than ever before to stop the spread during this difficult time.
Sometimes that can be difficult.
Rebecca Franks and her family have been quarantined for weeks now and have had to learn to live with the stay at home lifestyle for now.
Franks is from Shreveport. Her and her husband moved to texas and then to Wuhan, China in 2011.
Rebecca says they love living in Wuhan and have made some really good friends there.
“We really have enjoyed living here,” said Franks. “Tt’s a great place to live. It’s a great place for foreigners to live too because there’s not a lot of tourists. Tt’s just easy and the people are great.”
When COVID-19 started to grow in the city the Franks didn’t know what was happening.
“When you start seeing things cleared out and every checkout lines opened 20 people deep and you were just going to the store on a regular trip, you’re like oh righty something is happening here,” said Franks. “You don’t know.”
The next day the city was put on lockdown.
“The city went on lockdown or quarantine eight weeks ago,” said Franks. “That’s when all transportation shut down, so we haven’t been able to get out by taxi or bus or subway and any of the normal things that we do. About three to four weeks ago they locked down our complex. Each complex here has been completely locked. So groceries and things like that come to us. We can’t get out period. So you learn to deal with what you got.”
During this time Rebecca has been sharing her experience through posts and pictures on Facebook
With being on lockdown, the fear of not having enough food and the death rates going up around them Rebecca‘s husband challenged her to look for the good.
“I am not one to enjoy a weekend at home,” said Franks. “I like to be out. I like to work. But we’ve been here for eight weeks and we’ve been learning how to do it.”
Her post for the positive looking for the positive has gone viral with thousands of scares, comments, and reactions.
“It’s encouraging to see people don’t just want to continue to spread the sensational posts,” said Franks. “I was out for a walk with the dog on that one and I saw snail and I thought I could just sit down and watch the snail because I didn’t have to go to work. I didn’t have anything pressing. People weren’t out they were in their apartments. I just had time.”
This was a very change of pace for a busy city.
“There are 11 million people here,” said Franks. “All of China is very fast-paced so there’s always crowds there’s always traffic. So to have the city take a complete pause it’s been beautiful.”
Another thing she was grateful for was the uninterrupted family time.
“Our family life has never been better,” wrote Franks. “Usually one weekend is long enough before I’m ready to send each of us back to school or work. But for SEVEN weeks, we’ve been home together with very little outside influences or distraction, forced to reconnect with one another, learn how to communicate better, give each other space, slow down our pace, and be a stronger family than ever before.”
When the time was tough the community also came together.
“We’ve learned really what community is supposed to be,” said Franks. “We’ve had opportunities to serve one another to serve others. My life is just moving at a snail’s pace so to speak.”
She added the family still works and does class, but all from home and all on flexible hours.
“It is not perfect, but it is fairly productive and good,” said Franks. “God is providing so many opportunities for good while we are here, and he is showing us his goodness every single moment.”
While living under quarantine she has made a list of tips from what she’s learned so far.
• Environment is everything. Knowing we’d be inside a lot more, I made our apartment less pretty and more practical. We pulled up our rug and pushed back the furniture just to make the space function better for all of us home all day. We’ve defined a makeshift school work area for Daniel and separate works zones for each of us.
• You have your outside clothes and your inside clothes. You can’t wear the outside clothes inside, or you bring outside germs inside with you. So leave them on a hook at the door, or whatever works for you. My rule is that I always change my shirt or outer layer on top after being outside, and I only change my pants if I sit down. I’m not saying that’s right. That’s just what I do. You could also buy the raincoat from the grocery app to protect your clothes. Just get a system and make it work.
• Definitely, definitely definitely don’t wear the outside shoes inside the house! If you’ve ever lived in Asia, you don’t do that anyway. If not, learn to go Asian style and leave those nasties at or outside the door.
• Keep some kind of sanitizer at the front door for your phones. Since you and I both know you played on your phone while you were out, you have to clean it once you come back inside. Keep antibacterial wipes or alcohol spray at your front door to clean off the phone and anything else that goes outside and inside. If it’s been outside, it needs to be sanitized before you use it inside.
• Create a germ zone at the front door. Our entryway is the place we drop all our germy clothes, phones, keys, etc. They don’t come past the threshold until/unless they’re clean.
• One final tip. We all need community now more than ever, so don’t isolate from others. Use Zoom, Skype, or other video tools to do church, small group, etc. I really really don’t like doing things on video or even talking on the phone. But I do it anyway because I need it. We all need it.
As things start to slowly move in China, Rebecca says there’s one thing she wants others to know here in the US.
The first one not to panic and grab materials.
“We didn’t grab toilet paper no one is panicked over toilet paper,” said Franks. “The coronavirus has nothing to do with a system.”
The second one, a message of encouragement.
“It will pass,” said Franks. “It is passing here. This place is far less equipped to handle a crisis like this than where you are. So fear really is the biggest enemy. So please learn from what we’ve been through and just be reasonable and be safe.”
Now many people on social media have been following in Franks’ path by posting to social media 5 things they are thankful for during this difficult time. If you want to join in you can post to Facebook using the hashtag #5thingsimthankfulfor.