The week before I left for my overseas adventure, I had a bad cold. It stuck with me for about a week into my travels. It also meant that for most of the flight on the way over I was coughing a lot. I joked that people might think I had SARS (ha ha, yes, hilarious). My parents seemed to think it might actually happen (“What will you say if anyone asks you if you have SARS?”), but no one paid much attention to me at all.

It looks like that while I was away SARS was kept under control. To celebrate this good news, I thought I’d share some excepts from an article that was published in the New Zealand Herald on 2 April.

Deadly virus a real threat to national economy

The killer pneumonia virus spreading from Hong Kong and southern China poses a “genuine threat” to not only New Zealand business but the nation’s economic output, bank economists say.

“The potential impact is large,” the Bank of New Zealand’s head of market economics, Stephen Toplis, said today.

Mr Toplis said the disease was on its way to New Zealand, and once here it was unlikely to go away quickly.

“How many cases we get and how New Zealand responds to them may be critical to our overall economic health over the next year or so,” he said.

Mr Toplis said New Zealand would suffer a sharp blow to its productivity if the arrival of Sars coincided with the annual flu epidemic.

“This is likely to result in much higher absenteeism than normal and put much more pressure on the health sector as the normally staunch Kiwi, who wouldn’t think of gaining medical attention for the ‘flu, feels much more reluctant to let things ride,” he said. “Sars could well have a major negative impact on GDP and be yet another reason to assume that there is substantial downside risk to New Zealand’s growth outlook for this year and next”.

Has anything in this article happened? And what is this annual flu epidemic he speaks of? Ah, pass the Vapodrops.

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