COVID-19 – 1.5 years later. Do we know better now?

COVID-19: In times when a blame game ousts self-scrutiny, Wuhan Wuhan refuses to further politicise the virus, laying bare our shared struggles amid the pandemic.
Director: Yung Chang
Producer: Donna Gigliotti
Country: USA

As restrictions are eased in parts of the world, with ramped up vaccination campaigns and falling infections, it may be easy to succumb to the pandemic ‘fatigue’ at last, entertaining an idea that the virus is losing steam. However, with the new variants gaining traction, concerns persist over COVID’s grip on the world and whether the end of the pandemic is anywhere in sight. 1.5 years and several lockdowns later, the virus continues to wreak havoc on economies and lives, more so in some countries than others, with the question looming: How much do we know now, and do we know better?

Wuhan Wuhan, a film by Yung Chang
Wuhan Wuhan, a film by Yung Chang

The first months

Yung Chang’s latest documentary Wuhan Wuhan (2021) zeroes in on the first months of the initial lockdown after the novel coronavirus outbreak hit the city in early 2020. Images of Wuhan’s desolate streets, devoid of traffic but not of life, set the scene for the film, with the drone floating over the Yangtze River bridges – the images that have become all too familiar in 2020.

Rather than delving into possible origins of the virus, Wuhan Wuhan chooses to center on the dramas of people’s lives at the onset of the public health emergency. When COVID-19 became a reality in 2020, Wuhan residents were the first ones to learn how it would transform their daily lives. For frontline workers ER Chief Zheng and nurse . . .

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Sevara Pan
Journalist and film critic.
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