Saturday, March 29, 2003

My country seems to have been hit by a double whammy - the war in Iraqi and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). Both have hit our economy pretty badly, since my country relies heavily on the tourism industry. With the closure of schools earlier this week, and the quarantining of those who have come into close contact with the initial SARS cases, the retail sector has been affected badly as well.

On the micro level, it definitely scares me. The health authorities still aren't sure as to how this virus is transmitted - whether it's air-borne or by close contact. We've been told that it shouldn't be an air-borne infection, but they're not sure. The virus appears to be a variant of the same virus that causes the common cold, and we all know how much success we've had in battling that. What's worse is right now, the word is that the virus is transmitted via air-borne water droplets that stay active for five hours. So if someone sneezes, say, on a table and you happen to touch that same area four hours later and neglect to wash your hands properly before eating, you'll get infected.

Needless to say, with all this uncertainty, people are running scared. I think twice about taking a cab now, because with the enclosed space, you don't know whether the virus may be lingering in that taxi. Everytime I sneeze or cough, I get worried. Hell, other people get worried about being around me. And under no circumstances do I wish to be quarantined with my family. Some days, just an hour with them is more than enough to drive me mad.

In many ways, this is more terrifying than war. At least with war, we can fight against the enemy.

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