Dancing the blues away in a hospital ward

Wang Yong
Nurses and patients in Wuhan, epicenter of the novel coronavirus, are finding ways to keep the spirit up as they battle the epidemic outbreak.
Wang Yong
Dancing the blues away in a hospital ward

Nurses in protective clothing lead the dance at a makeshift hospital in Wuhan, Hubei Province, on February 10, 2020.

A group dance by nurses and patients in a makeshift modular hospital treating novel coronavirus pneumonia, named as COVID-19, cases has moved millions to tears. Many netizens have called it the most beautiful dance they have ever seen.

It was Wednesday in Wuhan, capital city of Hubei Province, where the new coronavirus broke out in December. So far about 60,000 confirmed cases have been reported across the country, with Wuhan being the epicenter.

Usually panic grips patients uncertain of their fate, especially in the face of a new virus for which there is no immediate vaccine. But on Wednesday, a veteran nurse from the Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region taught many patients at a modular hospital to dance, and when they finally danced in tandem, the nurses and the patients glittered with grace. 

The nurses were wearing heavy protective suits and goggles and yet they looked beautiful. The dancers said nothing, perhaps a bit tired, but I could read in their eyes a silent manifestation: Death be not proud.

It’s easy for me and millions of other netizens to speak out loudly “Death be not proud." But if we put ourselves in the shoes of the patients, we will know it takes more courage than a poetic declaration. Hats off to the chief nurse who led the dance routine. She did not simply ease the physical pain of the patients, but their mind as well. The nurse is part of a panel of medical staff from Xinjiang sent to Wuhan to fight the epidemic. She danced with a beautiful mind as well as dexterity typical of most people from Xinjiang.

And she was not alone. A group of doctors and nurses from Hainan Province have taught many other patients to dance to the tune of Hainan’s renowned local rhythms. Other doctors and nurses have taught patients in different hospitals to perform traditional Chinese breathing exercises.

They are ordinary people ― patients, doctors, nurses ― striving to survive and fight this extraordinary epidemic. Worried? Certainly. But they refuse to succumb to the fear of death. They willingly segregate themselves for professional treatment in isolation to prevent contagion, and in the process, propagate a spirit of sanguinity ― an ultimate human detachment and derision of death. 

A man, a woman, a nation will survive well if, in adversity, they remain strong within ― their spirit unbroken by exhaustion.

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