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Isn’t it just my luck that a dangerous illness arises during my year abroad?

As of right now, there are currently 10,000 people infected worldwide with the coronavirus. It has caused so much concern that some of my Chinese friends cannot return home to China for this upcoming spring break. In fact, countries are now posting travel bans. My friend, who was planning to go to Taiwan with me this spring break, is now unable to go thanks to the travel ban placed on Chinese passport holders.

Cases are appearing all over the world. There are 6 cases in the U.S., about 14 in Japan, and a whooping 7,700 cases in China. The number of people getting infected are increasing with each passing day. Face masks in China are all sold out and Japan is on its way to being in the same situation.

Just today, I went to the nearest convenient store to look for face masks. The whole rack was empty – there were no face masks at all.

The face mask section at the 7/11 closest to my apartment.

The alarm and cautiousness regarding the disease has risen considerably. People now wear face masks everywhere they go, and I don’t blame them. Tokyo is a pretty dangerous place to be when a virus like the coronavirus breaks out. The trains are always packed, there are huge crowds of people throughout the day, and it’s a big city. If one person contracts the virus in the city, the likelihood of them being in contact with others before they are quarantined are quite high. This means that the rate of the virus being spread would be incredibly fast.

To be as straightforward as I can: it would suck to get any type of fatal virus while I am studying abroad.

This spring break, I have plans to travel to Taiwan, Vietnam, and Korea. However, with the coronavirus going around, I’m starting to have second thoughts. Even so, I already paid for my flight, hotels, and activities for each country. Even though it would be safer to stay in Japan, the amount of money I spent is non-refundable, so I don’t know if I should actually cancel and stay back or just go and have fun while I’m abroad. Truly a hard decision.

That said, the future with all these new viruses is bleak, especially with global warming melting the ice and exposing the world to new and existing (previous) viruses. Hopefully, the coronavirus cases settle down soon, so that everyone can go back to their daily lives and not worry about contracting a deadly disease.


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