Another dot in the blogosphere?

Nothing to sneeze at

Posted on: January 30, 2020

I was not in Singapore during the SARS outbreak almost 20 years ago. I was on the opposite side of the world pursuing a Ph.D. But I am now living in the possible sequel that is the disease brought on by the 2019-nCoV or Wuhan virus.

The press likes to point out how there was no social media during the SARS outbreak. That is not entirely true depending on how you define social media. What is true is how current forms of social media enable both information and disinformation about 2019-nCoV to spread faster than the virus itself.

I have yet to see the press focus on the panic buying of face masks (see the snaking queues outside Watsons). There is some coverage on the profiteering by suppliers, both brick-and-motar and online. But such news is peripheral to what matters to my learners and me.

More impactful is the 14-day leave-of-absence for students who return from trips to China. There is also a travel restriction for those who hail from the Hubei province.

Video source

I facilitate a course taken by students from all over the world. My Chinese students who travelled home for the lunar new year were caught off-guard. Thankfully, the administrators in charge have decided to create extra sessions to accommodate those who will need to stay away from class.

But I worry about those who might not be upfront about their travel. If they choose to attend class for selfish reasons, they risk infecting their peers. No amount of temperature taking, movement tracking, or policy making is going to stop this. A good old-fashioned talking to is what this doctor prescribes.

Video source

Afterthought: I have just started watching the documentary series, Pandemic. It was released on Netflix just a few days ago and the timing is uncanny. I am just halfway through this six-part series, but already I marvel at how wonderful and idiotic people can be.

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