A Flash Back To SARS

I never thought I would be short on face masks. Being obsessed and super cautious, I hoard face masks in huge quantities whenever they are on sale. I was not too worried when the outbreak emerged until I found out that there were no more than 10 left in my family.

I have grounded myself at home in Sichuan for over a month and a half now to stay away from any outside hazards and to save face masks. Even if I wanted to go out, I am not allowed by the residential management.

It is similar to what I experienced 17 years ago. I was in Beijing—one of the epidemic centers where many people died during the notorious SARS outbreak. The only difference is I was not afraid then. I was a student at that time, but now I am a mother.

I could not believe my ears when the monitor informed my building that SARS had infected and killed many people in China. One of our teachers was infected while escorting a student who had a fever to the hospital. The teacher later died. The classes he taught were sent to a school owned hotel for quarantine. For the first time, death was so close. Many students panicked and fled home not long before the school prohibited anyone in or out.

I was among the few who stayed. Luckily, the school was fully functional. I was almost enjoying myself and felt at ease because finally I did not have to wait in line in the canteen. I did not have to fight for a table in the library. I got my teacher’s attention as one out of three students who showed up to class.

The school prepared some herbal tea made from isatis root, which was thought to prevent SARS. One day I was late when I got to the canteen where we were given “the cure.” No one was there other than one canteen staff member getting ready to leave. He saw me and beckoned me over before I could say anything.

“That’s what I have left. No more. Tell no one,” he said and stuffed something into my hand. I knew immediately that it was a small packet of isatis root. After 17 years, I always remember his kindness and generosity. Isatis root was one of the most precious and scarce resources.

At the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, isatis root was snapped up by panicking crowds followed by double coptis, whose effects turned out to be false. Despite those irrational purchases, people are getting more guidance and support from the medical authorities. Now you do not have to follow the crowds to buy medicine that is not proven to help prevent COVID-19.

I became familiar with a special electuary formula which is taken as a COVID-19 preventative measure (it is not a cure). It has a varity of different herbs that work together to enhance lung and spleen functions. The formula was developed under the guidance of the Fourth Edition of Treatment for the Novel Coronavirus Pneumonia (COVID-19) and is offered by the professional medical team at YYL Hospital.

There are other prevention measures people can follow to stay safe during COVID-19. Some of the best are keeping a distance from crowds and stop eating wild animals!