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Old 04-19-2003, 02:01 PM   #1
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SARS causing problems

This is really scary stuff.

SARS Virus Devastating Asia's Economies

Updated 1:28 PM ET April 19, 2003

- The SARS virus has now hit nearly every country in Asia, spreading fear, panic, and economic chaos in its wake.


On Tuesday alone, nine people in Hong Kong including the youngest victim yet, a 32-year-old woman died from severe acute respiratory syndrome. And in Singapore, hundreds of people were placed under quarantine because they had contact with SARS victims.

Today, Hong Kong officials reported a new record 12 deaths in a single day.

With the global death toll topping 150 people, Asia's economic health is also showing symptoms of ailment.

"SARS will knock you backward, it may even kill you," Singapore Prime Minister Goh Chok Tong told a news conference today. "But I can tell you SARS can kill the economy, and all of us will be killed by the collapsing economy."

In Hong Kong, most hotels, shopping malls and restaurants are virtually empty amid a run on traditional medicines. Service industries are already laying off thousands of workers and many more jobs are at risk as international business is starting to steer clear of the region.

Even U.S.-based companies such as Nike, Intel and Motorola are growing increasingly worried about the impact of SARS on both their sales and manufacturing.

Crisis Control

The virus is a double-edged sword for Asia because it is not only the largest consumer market in the world, it makes nearly everything as well.

Asian nations are desperate to convince the rest of the world that they have the disease under control, that it's safe to visit and work there, because the region is so dependent on international trade, transportation and tourism.

But the best intentions have done little to ease the crisis. With ominous scenes of the sick being carted off day after day, fear has spread farther and faster than the disease itself.

Thailand, for one, set up strict health screenings at its airport to monitor potentially infected passengers.

A Thai senator, Mechai Viravaidya, said the precautions are a responsible way to handle the viral epidemic, especially since Thais remember what happened when they ignored the AIDS epidemic for too long.

"They felt guilty about having denied, kept quiet, not come out about HIV and AIDS," Viravaidya said. "So when this came along, a little bit similar, they jumped and said, 'OK, let's be responsible, let's be open and honest about it.' "
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Old 04-19-2003, 11:17 PM   #2
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They think SARS will never fully be stopped but will just integrate itself into the population.

How the heck can people with compromised immune systems leave home? Both my grandparents are very ill but can't even visit the hospital for fear of contracting SARS.
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Old 04-19-2003, 11:38 PM   #3
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SARS is now in the population, so it will forever be there. It's just a question of people calming down and spending the money required on the development of antivirals, which are actually questionably effective anyway.
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Old 04-20-2003, 12:04 AM   #4
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what are we gonna do, stop living... should we stop going out? going to class, church, parties, clubs...

live it up... and if you get sick... so there's a 5% chance you die. but don't stop living.
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Old 04-20-2003, 12:04 AM   #5
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I'm nervous about this stuff myself, maybe too nervous. I don't know. I've had the flu twice this year. If I woke up tomorrow with flu like symptoms I'd be really nervous. Yes, we're stuck with this thing. Damn.
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Old 04-20-2003, 06:27 AM   #6
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It's made me kind of nervous hearing about how many people in Hong Kong have died from this illness already. Although I know you can't live your life always being scared of catching an illness - it's just kind of scary to hear about it.
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Old 04-20-2003, 05:23 PM   #7
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Oh, I'm not living in absolute morbid fear of catching SARS. My part of the U.S. has been hit with the Nile flu and other lethal infections. I caught the flu during the Nile scare and that scared the hell out of me. Fortunately I didn't have the Nile version of the flu. If you're too freaked out about bugs you're letting the pesky little germs "win" and you shouldn't.
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Old 04-23-2003, 09:14 AM   #8
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I have swung between being somewhat blase and being quite spooked about this whole SARS thing. At this stage I think the best hope for the world in general is the nature of the way this illness spreads, or how extensively people can transmit it. It's really hard to know how accurate the information is. But as a layman, I tend to think that if this illness spread like the flu (which was one hell of a killer in 1918 and still is to some extent), we'd be looking at hundreds of thousands of cases by now - not 4,000. Unless the information is totally inaccurate - and in the case of China, you kinda wonder - we've basically seen a climb from hundreds of cases in February/March to about 4,000 in late April. Which is a lot but it's not quite panic time. Panic will be the real killer, which is cold comfort I guess. In fact, you could say that about a lot of things in the world right now. I feel like everything is poised on a knife edge. That is more dangerous by far than the actual fact of SARS itself, an illness which is probably somewhat less virulent and somewhat less fatal overall than the supposedly commonplace flu.

That's my little rationalisation. I could be totally wrong.

Also, talk of a vaccine: this illness is believed to be related to the family of viruses which cause the common cold. Medicine can do NOTHING for the common cold, nothing effective at any rate. Why hope for a vaccine?
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Old 04-23-2003, 09:24 AM   #9
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The other worrisome aspect is the talk of crisis in hospitals in those countries most affected by SARS. To me, that says a lot more about investment in health infrastructure than it says about SARS. If a few hundred cases of serious illness can bring the system to the brink of collapse, God help us.
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Old 04-23-2003, 09:26 AM   #10
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And finally, that last comment isn't directed at Asian hospitals per se - not at all. I've heard talk just as grim about the scenario should Australia, my own country, experience a similar outbreak.
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Old 04-23-2003, 09:35 AM   #11
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Zedbetty:

interesting point, thanks Zedbetty - sounds logical to me that SARS is the result of caring more about money than health - pretty much like BSE in Britain / Europe
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Old 04-23-2003, 09:50 AM   #12
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Oh no, you misunderstand me. I don't think SARS - at least the outbreak and worldwide spread part of it - is the result of anything except bad luck and a healthy dose of apathy. I meant that perhaps the fact of this sort of crisis, at this time, highlighted problems that were related to money, or the lack of it.

BSE was a whole different kettle of fish. If things hadn't been so criminally mismanaged, BSE and humanity should never have even crossed paths. Whereas I tend to think that SARS is not an isolated occurance. Respiratory-type illnesses have crossed from animal to human many times. And probably always will. It's so close to the common cold, just packs a lot more punch.
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Old 04-23-2003, 09:56 AM   #13
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ok, thanks for clarifying that
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Old 04-23-2003, 04:00 PM   #14
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1/3 of people in subways in toronto are where masks... some with gloves... it's scary
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Old 04-23-2003, 04:14 PM   #15
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Man Inside The Child,

I've been on the subway pretty much every weekday (minus thursday), and in the last 4 weeks I've seen 2-3 people with a mask. Yesterday, I was on during rush hour, nobody with a mask at all.
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