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Swine Flu

I have to confess, I'm a little bemused by the whole Swine flu thing. I've been reading up on some of it, and watching the news, and despite the fact that they keep saying 'Don't panic, it could still fizzle out in a couple of weeks like Sars did' people seem to be panicking. I don't know if this is just human nature or something else, but it's annoying.

However, the most annoying thing of all? Human supidity. They announce that there's a potentially deadly disease in Mexico, so what happens? Reporters are sent there to go and check it out. They fly back all people from other countries who were on holiday there and they keep flights going back and forth. Lets stop for a moment and think about this. Why would you send reporters to an area with a disease like swine flu? Can't you just put them infront of a blue screen and let them talk about it? One guy yesterday was trying to get in (with his camera crew) to see different things, and was surprised that the Mexican man there wouldn't let him in. Good on you Mr Mexican man! I know this reporter had a mask on, but does he fail to realise that germs stay on clothes for a few hours as well. There are even adverts on the TV that say this now! Use a tissue then wash your hands!
In the same vein, flying people to and from Mexico seems a little silly to me. I'm not for one minute saying that we should have left all the British peoples over there, but thinking logically, it's no surprise that swine flu has reached the UK. To be fair, I'm glad I didn't have to make the decision on what to do, but the same has happened elsewhere, and then they wonder why they've suddenly got cases of suspected swine flu.

It's really no wonder that the UN is saying that swine flu 'cannot be contained'. Yet, still people are complaining that their plans have been ruined by flights being cancelled. I just heard on the radio that some woman was complaining that her honeymoon was messed up by a flight being cancelled. Seriously, some people.

I've been having a look at some of the maps depicting outbreaks and they're very deceptive. Here's the BBC swine flu map which is movable so you can see how it's progressed, and here's the Swine Influenza map from @H1N1Alerts who just started following me on Twitter. If you look at both, you'll see they look different, but there is one striking resemblance. Omitting South Korea, there are no cases of swine flu in the east. If you look at the places with cases of swine flu, you'll notice that most of these are the places that people travel most frequently to. How people cannot see a link between this and the fact that swine flu is spreading is beyond me.
Also, on the second map, the 'deaths' are deceptive. America has had one. One, and yet the whole of the country goes from red to black. I know that's how they're showing where deaths have occured, but America is huge, so it makes it look as if there have been hundreds of deaths there!

I'm not panicking, I'm just trying to think sensibly. I want to say 'just don't travel' but in reality that's not going to happen, is it? Travelling is good, but maybe if people had thought a bit more before travelling to and from Mexico (since the outbreak) things might be different. Either way, I'm hoping it's all fizzled out by June. Well, definitely before July, at least!



( 20 humble opinions — Your humble opinion? )
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)
I hardly think holding up an oppressive dictatorial regime as a prime example of how to get it right, is very helpful. Especially when closed societies like South Korea never tell the truth about what is happening to their population (they lie about the fact many of their citizens are starving), so in all likelihood the virus could be there as well and secondly, I'd rather risk flu than have my movements (and civil rights) restricted.
Apr. 30th, 2009 09:42 am (UTC)
South Korea have it...
Apr. 30th, 2009 10:04 am (UTC)
That's alright because it's actually North Korea that is the dictatorship *rolls eyes at self*

I still don't agree with stopping people traveling though. And for all the hype, it is only flu - not the plague.
Apr. 30th, 2009 10:08 am (UTC)
The Koreas confuse me.

The way I see it, I'd rather have it contained. Yes it's only flu, not the plague, but I'd still rather things go ahead as normal than it getting out of control and then everything having to be restricted. This doesn't make much sense, sorry, I'm just still a bit O_o over the moronic reporter last night who was disappointed he didn't get to see the gory stuff in Mexico.
Apr. 30th, 2009 01:44 pm (UTC)
It reminds me very much of the epidemics of fear over SARS and bird flu. I'm hoping the event is over by the time I fly to America. I'm not worried about catching the flu, or dying from it if I did catch it, but flights and baggage and everything will probably be much affected while it's a bad problem. Cancelling flights is the way to go - diseases don't travel if their carriers don't. The news coverage is like that time a couple of years ago when they grounded all flights from London airports because of a terrorist threat - one reporter went scouting for irritated people but found people who were really supportive of the police.

Reporter: 'I understand you were due to travel to New York today. How does all this chaos make you feel?'
Lady: 'I feel safer knowing they're doing their jobs to keep us safe, and they brought us tea and biscuits!'
Reporter: 'But you're really annoyed at being grounded, aren't you?'
Lady: 'No, not really. It's a necessary security measure.'
Reporter: [evidently either not listening or refusing to accept the truth] 'I understand completely. [turns to camera] As you can see, people here are getting very frustrated at being prevented from travelling.'

Are you quite sure about that, Mr Reporter?
Apr. 30th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
Someone else who agrees with me! Thank you!

When do you go to America?
Apr. 30th, 2009 02:02 pm (UTC)
The wedding is 8th August in Wisconsin, I'm staying with a friend in Atlanta and going on to the wedding together, so I'll probably arrive around the 5th or something. Then I'm booked as a copy editor for a convention newsletter in the first week of September so I'll be there for about 6 weeks all told. What does a non-driver do in America for 6 weeks...?
Apr. 30th, 2009 02:16 pm (UTC)
That's nice :) I'm hoping it's all cleared up by the time I go to Germany in July.

You're going to a convention as a copy editor though... get you! As for what you could do, I don't really know. I've only done Disney really and we had a car for that. Didn't have one in Boston, so we resorted to walking around a bit. Can't remember if we ended up using any public transport but we had day trips we went to on coaches.
Apr. 30th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)
I saw a report on TV here where a man who raised pigs said that swine flu was a common enough virus that they had it seasonally. And that there's a vaccine for it so there is no need to worry about the safety of the pork here (less people have been buying meat because of Lent and now this swine flu scare and I feel for the people selling it).

Have the authorities even determined where (which farm) all this originated from? I haven't been watching the news lately so I don't really know. I read a report about a town in Mexico who had a flu outbreak sometime in late March? but only a little boy had been confirmed to have swine flu. I don't know much besides that.
Apr. 30th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
I duno. The thing is, it's been transferred to humans before, so I don't know why they're making it seem as if it's never happened before. Pigs get it regularly and apparently pork is fine to eat because it doesn't travel like that, but it's wise to make sure you cook it all properly anyway.

I've no idea whether they know. It's just Mexico City as far as I know. The whole thing is silly though. If they're going to do something, they should stop everything and keep it contained, rather than let people continue as normal and then go 'oh, but it seems to be spreading'.
Apr. 30th, 2009 03:04 pm (UTC)
I agree. And I think the main reason why the majority of Asia don't have cases of swine flu is because many of us don't have direct flights to Mexico. Anyone who's come from there and display the symptoms may have already been quarantined before traveling here.
Apr. 30th, 2009 03:13 pm (UTC)
Exactly. That's what I've tried saying in my post, but not in so many words. I know it's not the plague etc but I'd rather it be contained.
Apr. 30th, 2009 03:56 pm (UTC)
I don't understand the entire panic to be honest. Every year there are thousands of ppl dying because of flu and nobody ever talks about them.

Years ago it was the bird flu, before that it was the mad cows... and you know what: none of us died and hey: personally I don't moo and I didn't grew wings either.
Apr. 30th, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
Indeed there are, so I don't see why people are panicking, but seeing as they are, why don't they contain it rather than going 'Feel free to go about your daily business, travelling all over the world to and from Mexico' and then going 'Oh, I don't know why it seems to be spreading'. Hmm.

Swine flu has infected people before anyway, so it's not even brand new. I can't remember the cycle that it's on though. It midly amuses me how people get so hyped up over things. You're right, I didn't grow wings and I don't moo either (unless I deliberately choose to go 'moo!' at someone randomly).
Apr. 30th, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
At first the hype amused me but personally I am already a bit fed up when I hear from my american friends how they get informed about the swine flu. According to them we are all almost dead.

I have to confess that I would still travel too.
Apr. 30th, 2009 04:27 pm (UTC)
I probably would too, but I wouldn't then wonder why it was spreading...
Apr. 30th, 2009 06:26 pm (UTC)
Yeah, it's really weird. Once swine flu was known to the general public, what did everyone do? Go to Mexico to see what's going on. Yeah, that's smart.

I agree with pretty much everything you say here, so... yeah. xD
Like, I tried not to panic over the other stuff and accidentally started getting anxious, yet NOTHING major really happened. It's probably the same now.
Apr. 30th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
Exactly. Muppets. And then they wonder why swine flu is spreading and why lots of countries are in recession.
May. 2nd, 2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
There's a lot of illegal traffic between the Southwestern USA and Mexico, which makes some people here in California really concerned. I personally don't think the average person needs to worry too much about this. Applying common sense should do until the worst is over.

You do see some people walking around with surgical masks here. I wouldn't want to tempt fate through travel to Mexico and am wondering if going to mass events like big concerts in LA is a good idea right now but I'm still going to see Yann Tiersen tonight.
May. 2nd, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
Mmmm ok. You'd think it would be the states nearer to the border that are worried though! If more people applied common sense, swine flu wouldn't have spread so much.

I have a couple of surgical masks I got from work last year which I randomly wore all day. Did resist the temptation to go on the train wearing a surgical mask and cap though!
( 20 humble opinions — Your humble opinion? )


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