I purchased some Purell yesterday; a big bottle for home, and a couple of pocket-sized dispensers for my packsack or pocket. The hand solution claims to kill 99.9% of germs.
In the short walk to the post office, I passed two people on the street wearing facemasks.
The big, bold front-page headline of Tuesday’s Toronto Sun on Tuesday read: YEAR OF THE VIRUS, and the amount of information on radio and television increases daily.
The coronavirus is a reality. While it had reportedly been contained in China, a case was recently reported in the United States. That’s cause for alarm.
Of course I am concerned, particularly as word spreads like the disease of what is often referred to as a “SARS-like virus”.
SARS is a believable, horrific word in Toronto.
In 2003, Canada was the hardest hit country by the SARS outbreak outside of Asia. Of the 774 people killed by the virus worldwide, 44 deaths were in Canada. More than 3,300 people hospitalized (of the 8,098 global cases) and billions of dollars in economic losses have been attributed to SARS as people avoided Toronto like the plague.
I did not live in Toronto at the time, but travelled there on business regularly. There were months I did not make the trip. The reality of SARS was simply too great to take a chance.
I live in Toronto now. Flu season has not yet peaked, and now every cough from a stranger is cause for concern. A virus like 2019-nCoV is easily spread by person-to-person contact, and there are more people in this city than any other in this country. They are the everyday people you see, meet, and brush up against on subways and in shopping malls.
Of course I am concerned.
Health officials advise that washing your hands is still the best first-line defense against this virus, just as it is for the common cold.
I know I wash my hands regularly (not obsessively), but also know many people don’t. Yes, I purchased the hand sanitizer for me, but really I bought it because of them.