Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu

Swine flu.  Is this a media-generated panic during a slow news week?  I am not wanting to diminish a legitimate threat to public health, but this just seems like overkill right now.  The travel industry is already taking a beating, and our VP came out saying to stay off of planes and subways.  The administration had to immediately go into damage control over that comment.  (Being Biden's press secretary would have to be one of the most interesting jobs in the country).

But all of this just muddies the water.  Isolated cases.  Few deaths (although any is certainly cause for concern).  Worldwide -- 331 confirmed cases, 10 deaths.  Is it REALLY a pandemic, as the media says?  Or is it like any other flu that has hit internationally through the years?  Remember bird flu from a few years ago?  The media overstated it, too -- though not nearly THIS much.

I mean, really!  Schools are shutting down.  UIL is canceling all spring sporting events.  The question is being posed as to whether to delay the NBA playoffs.

I just want to know the facts.  People have enough things in their lives that are unsettling right now.  Newspapers are struggling to survive, so are they going to become more sensationalistic in order to sell a few more copies -- even if that means creating unnecessary public reactions?

What do you think?     


Jeff said...

I think it's an overreaction but I guess we won't know for a little while. Someone told me it can take 3 weeks for the flu to manifest but people can be contagious within that time. I don't know if that's true but would result in more cases coming. I guess I look at it like most other diseases...they are all out there lurking so do the best you can and keep on going.

In the meantime, I'm shutting my blog down until Monday to prevent spreading the flu.

Kyle R. said...

Let's see...

I'm no public health or epidemiological expert but...

A pandemic means something that affects "all" people...pan- means all.

Just a little over 300 confirmed cases and 10 deaths (all serious and should not be disregarded), but if my math is even close to correct that represents somewhere around .000005% and .0000002%,respectively, of the world's population. I hardly call that a pandemic. I'm not even sure that is an epidemic.

Caution... yes! If you're sick, stay home. When you cough or sneeze,use you're sleeve and not your hand. Don't drink or eat after others. Wash your hands frequently.

Shut everything down and cancel events...? I think that is media induced mass hysteria.

Who knows though? Maybe not having sporting events, festivals and the like to attend, maybe families will rediscover that spending time together at home is actually nice and good!

Art said...

Now the CDC has said they expect 1700 to infected at he end of 4 weeks. That's like calling Lou Gehrig's disease a pandemic.

I thimk the worst thing about 9/11 is that the politicians saw that fear in the American people will let them do anything the politcians want so now they manufacture anything that will instill fear in the masses.