It’s just the flu, people!
Not to diminish the potential complications of the illness and with no disrespect to those who have lost loved ones as a result of it, but…it’s just the damned flu, folks! And a mild strain of the flu at that. Does putting the name “swine” in front of it and having the news media give it round the clock coverage make it somehow worse? Some perspective here: In the last 24 hours 109 Americans have been killed in car accidents. Another 109 will die in the next 24 hours. On average, 109 Americans die in car crashes every day of the year. Where are the news stories on the Bad Driver Pandemic?
In a typical flu season, hundreds of thousands of people worldwide die from complications related to the disease. One flu death is one too many and reasonable precautions against the swine flu should be taken, but the context of this statistic seriously suggests that the impact from the swine flu problem is, from a dispassionate epidemiological perspective, trivial.
Two “probable” cases of swine flu at a local school has resulted in every school in the county being shut down for days. Today at lunch, I noticed the restaurants were full of happy, healthy teenagers. Instead of congregating at school, they were congregating in restaurants. While I doubt these young people are immune to the swine flu, they do appear to be immune to the swine flu hysteria that has gripped the media, the World Health Organization, and any number of local, state, and national politicians who now have an excuse to appear concerned and authoritative in front of television cameras.