With almost every meal cooked at home, our once-a-week eat out routine brings excellent culinary experience and moments of joy for our family. However, since the Wuhan virus outbreak, this weekly luxury has been put on hold. Fear of getting infected with the virus from a public space robs us of this cherished pleasure.
Despite only a few confirmed cases in Toronto, fear over the coronavirus emerges in many races in the country, but Chinese Canadians take a particularly hard hit from it. Information on WeChat groups– from videos to comments posted by relatives and friends in China – allows them to have instant and direct access to the disturbing reality faced by the epicenter and the beyond. As death toll and infection rate shows no sign of slowing, residents in many cities across China live in a state of distress – facing suffocating quarantine measures, dwindling food supply, and growing anxiety over the escalating crisis of virus.
But most of all, the pictures and videos from Wuhan hospitals make every viewer's hair on end -- with dying patients on oxygen masks lying on benches, the ills fighting for the limited testing kits, and infected doctors struggling with the doom and gloom. Heart-wrenching cries from children, desperate pleas from patients and families, and angry vents from those on the edge of collapses have painted a ferocious picture of the crisis, as the virus, far more contagious and deadly than SARS, continues to claim lives.
While the crisis is escalating in Hubei, it is far from a full-blown, global pandemic. In North America, the risk of getting infected by coronavirus is much lower than the flu. To put it into perspective, the odds of getting the coronavirus in Canada are near zero, according to some health experts, which pale in comparison with the eight-percent infection rate of flu estimated by the CDC.
The virus transmission seems concentrated to some geographic regions, with the vast majority of infected patients confined to the epicenter – Hubei province in China. How the infection progresses explains why. The virus appeared to have been caught in a hospital and transmitted within as patients suffering symptoms flocked the local medical system to seek help. As CNN reports, a study published recently in the medical journal JAMA found that 41% of the first 138 patients diagnosed at one hospital in Wuhan were presumed to get infected in that hospital.
The transmission of the virus in Canada is much limited and sustained. The confirmed cases in the country remain few and far between – with 3 in Ontario and 4 in B.C. With no new patients emerging since a week ago, all of the infected patients are on a successful journey of recovery. Health experts point out that the chances of a person in Canada dying from coronavirus are much smaller than cardiovascular disease, cancer, and car crash.
However, despite the well-contained nature of the outbreak in Canada, the fear factor of the outbreak has caused harm to the Canadian economy and disruptions to individuals’ life. Businesses in Chinatown suffer a significant blow as many Chinese Canadians– concerned about the outbreak, hesitate to go about their lives.
To stay calm over growing fear of the outbreak requires our ability to view the crisis through a fact-based and objective lens, and our will and strength of not allowing it to interfere with our rational decision making or deprive our opportunities to enjoy life.
我们一家人终于打破了远离公共场所的自我禁忌，于上周五来到一家空无一人的中餐馆就餐。那是一顿非常愉快而又难忘晚餐。作为餐馆的唯一一桌客人，我们不但获得了餐厅全方位的服务，而且老板为了表达了对我们 “理智和勇敢”决定的感谢和赞赏，特意赠送给我们一盘别致而可口的小菜 。
My family broke weeks' of self-imposed restriction of shunning away from public space and dined at a Chinese bistro last Friday. We have found the experience remarkably rewarding. As the only customers in the house, we enjoyed not only the best service possible but also free appetizers offered by the restaurant owner – as an award for our "rational decision and courageous action."
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