How I learned to stop worrying and love SARS

Well, life has been a bit crazy here because of SARS. I got swept up in the panic myself and almost left Beijing last week. I was really afraid that China was going to become a disaster zone and that leaving later would be impossible. I changed my mind and decided to stay, and now I’m not so worried. For one, the medical facts about SARS don’t support the need for panic. For a while it was really hard to get good medical information about SARS, but this week I did find a good seven-page article about SARS from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The Facts about SARS

Personally, about 3 or more weeks ago, when I first heard about SARS, I decided that I’d stop taking the bus and the subway. I still take taxis, though, for better or worse. But I haven’t been going out as much just to keep myself from public places. I stored up on food last week so that I could cook at home. Other people had the same idea because the shelves in the store were noticably emptier, but certainly not empty. Of course I don’t know what the stores are like right now because I haven’t been back this week.

Work has been a bit wierd. Visitors are barred from entering the building as well as from the student apartment building where I live. Staff come and spray my floor with a bleach solution every day. Thankfully it’s not vinegar like other places are using! Also, in the student apartment, we have to sign in every night, give our temperature, and state where we went that day. I’ve been tempted to write things like “whore house on 5th street” or “heroine detox center” just to see if anyone is paying attention. So far I’ve managed to only give serious answers though. The ironic thing is that while they are requiring this to prevent (or track) a possible spread of SARS among the students, we all use the same pen to sign in, so I think the whole thing is pretty useless. Maybe I should sneeze on the sign-in sheet, just for good measure.

My apologies to my family and friends who would like me to be home right now. Thanks for praying for my health and safety.