'Like a Bird in the Cage': American Citizen in Wuhan Shares Video Diary of Life Under Lockdown

An American teacher living in Wuhan, China, has said they chose to remain in the city rather than risk becoming infected with the new coronavirus on a chartered flight back to the US.

Megan Monroe has shared videos of daily life in the city since the quarantine came into effect in late January as the country battles against the spread of COVID-19.

Monroe, who is from Corona, California, and uses they/them pronouns, arrived in Wuhan in late December 2019 to work as a children’s theater and dance teacher. The outbreak of the then-unidentified new viral disease, centered on Wuhan, was first reported in early January.

Two days after a lockdown was imposed on Wuhan on January 23, Monroe uploaded their first clip on the video app TikTok. Since then they’ve posted numerous clips and shared their experience of being confined to their apartment building, struggling to get groceries, and practicing Chinese.

On the sixth day of the quarantine, Monroe posted a video in which they explained why they hadn’t left Wuhan yet. “A lot of people were asking me why I didn’t get on the plane back to America, and that’s because it was made for government officials.” Monroe added, “I guess some people’s lives are worth more than others’.”

On the 11th day of the quarantine, Monroe posted a video and said they decided not to leave on a different flight back to the US. “There is another plane going back to America and I’ve decided against going on it because I’d rather be in my apartment alone as opposed to being on an airplane with 200 possibly infected people.”

In a video posted on day 21 of the quarantine, Monroe showed a piece of paper which they said was a permit they were given that allows them to leave their apartment block. Monroe said residents are only allowed out “about once every three days.”

On the same day, Monroe documented their search for avocados in a supermarket in the city.

Monroe has also posted clips showing her neighbor singing in his apartment with lyrics that include, “I am like a bird in the cage, cannot tell what day.” Credit: Megan Monroe via Storyful