The making of an economic pandemic

One Saturday morning in March 2003, a group of experts gathered at WHO headquarters in Geneva to discuss a newly discovered infection in Asia. Cases had already appeared in Hong Kong, China and Vietnam, with another reported in Frankfurt that morning. WHO was about to announce the threat to the world, but first they needed a name. They wanted something that was easy to remember, but which wouldn’t stigmatize the countries involved. Eventually they settled on ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome,’ or SARS for short.

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