My Temperature Is My Passport, Verify Me – The Outbreak Diaries

This morning, the building managers decided to start asking us to physically write down our temperature every day we enter the premises, on a log sheet. It’s yet another change to get used to during this novel coronavirus outbreak, among the many changes I’ve already detailed. But it got me thinking of a certain idea – that these days amid the epidemic here in China, my temperature truly is my passport for getting around in this new world.

If you’ve seen or heard about the 1990s film Sneakers, then you might remember the quote from that high-tech comedy which inspired me: “My voice is my passport – verify me.”

Here, however, we only gain access to our communities, office buildings and, yes, even major public transportation through our temperature – a normal temperature of course (set at any reading less than 37.3 degrees Celsius).

That is the one thing that allows us to pass freely. That is how we get verified.

(Now if you registered a fever of 37.3 or more, you wouldn’t hear sirens and alarms go off, like trying to get past security in the movies – but you would be directed to the nearest hospital fever clinic!)

We’ve been living this for about a month already and it has become so ingrained into our lives that I think I would feel strange if the guards in front of our main building didn’t take out that temperature monitor and check me.

While some might make comparisons to dystopian worlds, in reality temperature checks just make sense, given that fever stands out one of the major symptoms of the novel coronavirus, and the new devices allow people to monitor this symptom with ease.

It also subtly reminds us all that health really does matter right now, amid the epidemic (which has made me care more about my health and, in turn, feel really great these days).

But let’s face it – this is a “passport” we all hope will eventually go defunct. So I look forward to the day when I have to remind myself not to log in or stop before the guard for a reading.

What do you think?

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3 Replies to “My Temperature Is My Passport, Verify Me – The Outbreak Diaries”

  1. Thanks for sharing, Jocelyn. I think it is a smart thing to do there. Actually, they should do it here in the U.S. Here it is underplayed. We don’t hear much about it, except that it is generally “safe.” No instructions on taking temperatures, or wearing masks or just keeping out of certain situations. It’s like they can’t accept that this is the current new normal.

    My daughter lives in Japan and they have closed down all the schools. They are not taking temperatures, but it sounds like most businesses and all schools are closed. She has stock-piled a lot of food, and is teaching herself how to do her own nails – lol. She said that just recently 26 people in a sports club in her city all came down with the virus. So she is hunkered down with lots of food and water.

    I’m actually taking your suggestion of taking my temperature every day. Since that is the first sign, it is good to track it. I think that is a very smart idea, and I wish they would do that here, or at least ask people to track it on their own by doing so.

    Thank you for sharing your experience!

    1. you’re welcome Sharon! I’m glad your daughter is in a safe situation in Japan. Having a thermometer isn’t a bad idea, though I will say that while temperature is one of the major symptoms, a recent paper just came out saying that over 50% of patients who had the virus did not have a fever before being hospitalized (https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/202003/01/WS5e5b9bb8a31012821727b5e1.html). A much larger proportion of them had a cough. Still after hospitalization close to 90% of people did in fact have a fever — so if you do get ill, you will very likely get a fever. Just may not be present right away.

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