More Cliff Notes to aid your fear and loathing (linkrot: 403)

Up to now, SARS has had a fatality rate of about 3.5 percent. If that sounds mild compared, say, to the virus that causes AIDS, consider this: The pandemic flu of 1918 killed “only” about 2.5 percent of those whom it infected. That amounted to 50 million people worldwide. … Up to now, U.S. authorities have been effective and probably fortunate in controlling the spread of SARS. Except for a handful of close relatives and health workers, the 69 known suspected SARS patients here were all sickened in Asia. By keeping them off the streets, U.S. officials have prevented community outbreaks so far. The same is largely true of Vietnam and Singapore. But that is not the case in Hong Kong … In Canada, with over 100 suspected cases, the fear is palpable. …

The SARS threat, which could end up requiring considerable vigilance and resources, bears out what many state and local health officials said about the smallpox vaccine program: that it was a waste of their precious time and energy.

"I'm more worried about smallpox vaccine than I am about smallpox currently," says Wenzel. Meanwhile, his hospital is treating its first possible SARS patient.

"That's real," he says. "That's here."