On February 28, I stood on a crowded line waiting to pass through the Canadian border checkpoint at Montreal’s Trudeau Airport. Ordinarily I would have balked when an agent stopped to spray sanitizer on the hands of every passing traveler. Any other day I probably would have paused with concern when I saw border agents wearing N95 masks. I certainly should have questioned more when the Canadian customs agent asked twice if I had recently traveled to China. Any other day, I would have identified the increased precaution people were taking and sensed the palpable panic about to erupt. But on this day, I absorbed nothing—certainly not the possibility that a virus was about to cripple civilization. On February 28, standing on a crowded line in a foreign country, I was numb and consumed with sadness. I was terrified the agent would ask me to remove my sunglasses only to reveal tears in my eyes. I was on my way to Lhassa’s funeral and thinking about what I would say to her father — a father who just lost his only daughter. Lhassa was a 5-year-old girl whose death was caused by KIF1A associated neurological disorder, the rare disease my daughter was diagnosed with in 2016. This would be the fourth funeral of a child with KIF1A I traveled to in as many years.

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