Jiayi Sun shares a childhood memory through this essay where the global pandemic of Covid-19 brings back memories of the 2003 SARS breakout faced by them in Beijing.
When the World Health Organization officially named the spreading disease SARS in March 2003, all the children in my family were sent to stay at my grandparents’ house. It was an old traditional courtyard house in a very old alley in Beijing. After it was built in 1949, this two-story house became the first residence of my grandparents’ family. My grandmother was not superstitious like other elders in my family, but she always believed that an earthy house would bring good health to children, especially during the SARS period. It was a very down-to-earth place to avoid contagion. It was hard to imagine that a house of less than 60 square meters with only one small indoor bathroom could accommodate five people during that pandemic, but in my childhood memories, it was the place where I felt especially welcome and comfortable.