|Published on: May 29, 2003|
|Living in Toronto, Canada, the City hit hardest by Severe Acute Respitory Syndrome outside of Asia, I have been pretty scared...I'm not afraid of the person sitting next to me in Subway, coughing. I'm not scared of catching SARS, either. No, I'm not scared of SARS at all. Why am I not scared, even though the world is petrified?
First of all, most SARS cases are linked to Hospitals and Health Care Facilities. No one caught SARS on pulic transit, malls, offices, conference centers, airports, concert/sport venues or school. On top of everything, SARS hasn't affected all the hospitals either. So I wouldn't be at all scared to go to St. Michael's, for example, and you'll never catch me wearing a mask (except maybe for pollution, but that's another story...).
Secondly, I have a better chance of getting raped and hit by a car then catching SARS. On top of that, with only 29 deaths in 3 months, many more common illnesses are deadlier than SARS.
The Flu kills roughly 1000 canadians in a year
Car Accidents kill about 3000 canadians a year
Cancer kills over 65 000 canadians a year.
and even Fire Arms kill 1200 canadians a year.
AIDS has taken over 448 000 lives since 2000 in the United States
SARS is a cold compared to all these illnesses.
On the AIDS issues, even though it's not as contagious as SARS, the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the World is disastrous. 448 000 americans died alone in the past 3 years, while everyone is running scared since SARS broke out in March. The Ontario government just spent 720 million dollars in aiding the SARS crises alone. And I'm not even going to begin with world hunger. 33 000 children die everyday because they're starving, and we spend millions of dollars and send the whole world in a frenzy.
My last reason for not being afraid of SARS? The Media is bringing so much attention to this, hunting for people wearing masks. I met an american journalist in April and he had been standing for hours at one of Toronto's busiest intersections, trying to spot someone wearing a mask. In 3 hours, he saw 4 people with masks. 2 of them were visibly health care workers. So what does this all mean? It means that our culture of fear has blown up SARS. It's sick.
On a final note, sure be careful. Don't walk into a SARS affected hospital without some protection, but an affected hospital is not the same as a baseball game or the subway. And for those of you scared to come to Toronto, in fear of catching this "HORRIBLE" illness, question why you're really scared. How can 5 million people be fine and SARS free and not worried to go outside?