Turning Red at Midnight

       “No one is entirely clear exactly how the app is making its decisions. Chinese authorities are unsurprisingly not entirely transparent regarding what can turn a person’s status from Green to Yellow or Red. It is suspected that data including a person’s movements, duration spent in known areas with infections, and contact with potential carriers, are all evaluated by some kind of automated algorithm, with a person’s color code updated at midnight every night.” – New Atlas

Tonight’s party is at Wu’s. Long before midnight I saw some Yellows becoming nervous, fearful of turning Red at midnight, being forced out the front door and told to go home, touch nothing, speak with no one. I, as a Green, was also fearful, but almost never had a Green been turned Red directly, without that tense interval as a Yellow, periods of Yellowness having become shorter, time as Reds extended again and again, Green reserved for Party members and notables and a few others like me.

11:59: I hold my breath. Others do the same.

12:00: The smartphone in my pocket shakes a little because there is a new message. Others look at their phones, gasp with relief or shrink with resignation. I keep my phone in my pocket. Others begin to look at me, edge away. I tell them that almost never, only once or twice, has a Green ever turned Red instantly, directly.

They are backing away from me more, now. One points to the door.

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