Wednesday, June 24th, 2009 | Connecting the Dots
I’ve realized that it’s not really all that clear to everyone exactly how we got here, so I’ll try to explain.
The people seated behind Rob and the boys on the plane did NOT have a fever when we got off the flight. But once they felt sick, they called the authorities (and we don’t know how sick they are, so we will forgive them for that), and two of them tested positive for H1n1.
So they came for us, and presumably others on the flight, and anyone else they were in contact with. And quarantined us, after plenty of negotiation, in the Grand Hyatt, and tested us. And there we were.
Until Rob’s test came back positive. Then it was ROB’s contacts they were concerned with. Us. The hotel staff. The taxi drivers. The waiters.
Here’s why: Even if you’ve been exposed to the virus, you’re not contagious until it’s taken hold. So–everyone who was scooped up on account of Rob: us, the manager at the hotel, the person who drove us to the hotel from the airport: tested, and into quarantine. If any of them develop the flu, then they’ll go after THEIR contacts.
It’s an effective, but mind-boggling operation. The American mind can scarcely grasp it. Really? Really quarantine all those people…how would you even do it? Where would you put them, how would you feed them, how would you track them–and they would object, they would sue–it really doesn’t even feel possible. Seriously? Everyone Rob talked to in the last two days?
We want to argue–but you can’t get EVERYONE, what about random people we talked to, or who touched things after we left? The feeling is that they may not be able to get to everyone, but quarantining the ones they can find will at least slow the contagion rate way down, and it does seem to be working. That said, the result is hundreds of quarantined people. I have no way of knowing how many, but there are a few hundred at this hotel alone. It’s just–
I don’t know that I ever would have grasped how really, truly, utterly different life can be in other places, even though so much of it looks the same, without this experience. They can do this. They have, in fact, done it. It’s an astonishing feat.
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