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New From CFR: Yanzhong Huang on the SARS Epidemic, Ten Years Later

by Development Channel Staff
February 6, 2013

Security officers in protective suits, to prevent themselves from catching the pneumonia-like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), guard the entrance of a special isolation camp, housing some 200 of the more than 400 residents evacuated from Amoy Gardens in Hong Kong on April 2, 2003 (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters). Security officers in protective suits, to prevent themselves from catching the pneumonia-like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), guard the entrance of a special isolation camp, housing some 200 of the more than 400 residents evacuated from Amoy Gardens in Hong Kong on April 2, 2003 (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters).

This week on the Asia Unbound blog, CFR senior fellow Yanzhong Huang debunked five myths about the 2002-03 SARS epidemic, including the idea that “Poor or failed states pose a bigger infectious disease threat to the international community than stronger developing countries.” Huang asserts that this is “not necessarily” the case, arguing, among other reasons:

The integration of these [stronger] countries into the global economy means that a lethal virus can travel at jet speed to other parts of the world. It is no coincidence that SARS was first discovered in Guangdong, a highly developed province with a robust export sector, and arrived in Toronto before it first appeared in Beijing. It also came as no surprise that Cambodia and Myanmar, two of the least developed countries in Asia, were spared by SARS in 2003.

You can read the full post here.

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