In a crowded brewery in Wuhan, Zhang Qiong wipes the birthday cake off his face after a food fight with his friends.
“After experiencing the first wave of epidemic in Wuhan and then liberation, I feel like I’m living a second life,” says Zhang, 29, who works in a textile shop in central China that was the original epicenter of COVID-19.
Outside, maskless party-goers spread through the streets, smoking and playing with toy machine guns and balloons.
The nightlife in Wuhan is back in full swing almost seven months after the city lifted its strict blockade and young people are joining the catharsis.
In unimaginable scenes in many cities around the world suffering from the resurgence of the pandemic, Wuhan’s youth spent a recent night surrounded by people, with street food and filled the city’s nightclubs as they sought to make up for lost time.
The resurgence of the city’s nightlife economy offers a glimpse into a post-pandemic lifestyle that many hope will become a reality in 2021, following the global launch of COVID-19 vaccines.
Wuhan has not reported a new case of local transmission of the disease since May 10, after suffering one of the strictest confinements in the world.
The city of 11 million inhabitants was unexpectedly isolated from the rest of China overnight from January 23, with road and aircraft, train and bus blockades. Nearly 3,900 of the 4,634 deaths recorded by COVID-19 in China occurred in the industrial city.
“During the epidemic, Wuhan was really a dead city,” rock music enthusiast Yi Yi said after a concert. “Now people are going out to eat and have fun. I don’t think there were that many people before the epidemic.”
“I really want to appreciate this moment, because in life you never know when it will end,” Zhang said at the brewery. “Make every day happy count.”