“A building has integrity just like a man. And just as seldom.” －Ayn Rand
A historian shared with me their amazement at how the Chinese were able to build two hospitals in 10 days, referring to the new facilities in Wuhan intended to treat those infected by the 2019 novel coronavirus (nCoV). The ongoing outbreak has stretched front line hospital staff thin, who have turned patients away due to a lack of beds and supplies. However, the 1,000-bed Huoshenshan Hospital began receiving patients on Monday; while the second facility, the 1,600-bed Leishenshan Hospital, reportedly began accepting patients last Wednesday.
“It’s the first time that I [have] heard about a hospital being constructed in 10 days,” the historian quipped. “I’m curious how these hospitals look.”
According to China State Construction Engineering, the prefabricated hospitals are two-stories, which were constructed using dozens of excavators, bulldozers, and other earth-moving equipment creating layers of matting and poured concrete.
The historian, an 86-year-old woman name Vera, told me she admired the Chinese government for their “efficiency and effectiveness in responding to the need of its people.” She also went on to call the hospitals “magic.”
She was also amazed how the hospitals went up in ten days but it took the United States 10 years to built One World Trade Center, which stands in the place of the World Trade Center.
“I remember the story of a noble dictator whose leadership provides satisfaction to his people while leaders in the free world sometimes can’t finish a simple infrastructure project on time,” she noted.
We have been discussing nCoV for several days now but many do not know why such a “monster” exists. Even though a virus cannot be seen by the naked eye, it does not mean scientists are unable to study its structure.
According to the book, “The Big Book of Tell Me Why: Answers to Hundreds of Questions Children Ask,” ultramicroscopes allow one to see tiny organisms. Additionally, there are also electron microscopes that use beams of electrons instead of rays of light to magnify an view items.
Electron microscopes have shown viruses range in size between 300 millimicrons and 10 millimicrons. What is a millimicron? It is one thousandth of a micron; and a micron is about 1/25,000 of an inch.
Nobody is quite sure yet exactly what viruses are. Some scientists think they are like elementary particles, similar to genes; while others believe viruses are midway between living and nonliving matter. As far as I know, viruses can grow and reproduce only within living tissue, which means they are impossible to cultivate away from living tissue, making it difficult to study their growth habits. That’s why they are classified by their ability to infect living cells and the reactions produced in the body of animals and humans.
Do viruses produce a poison or toxin? It is believed they do produce toxins but the toxin and the virus particle cannot be separated. We also still don’t know how these toxins produce disease – If they do.
Alex P. Vidal, who is based in New York City, used to be the editor for two local dailies in Iloilo./WDJ