That is not a very good title. So it goes.
I’m a little perplexed by this whole swine flu thing (H1N1 or whatever). As far as I can tell, it seems like not really too big a deal. This is in no way to downplay the deaths in Mexico or the one death in the U.S. of the toddler who came from Mexico for treatment—I hear a vaccine is in the works, and I hope it is successful and adequately administered to those at risk. But disease exists in many forms, and for the most part, this hasn’t been worse than the regular old flu.
Excerpted from the L.A. Times:
As the World Health Organization raised its infectious disease alert level Wednesday and health officials confirmed the first death linked to swine flu inside U.S. borders, scientists studying the virus are coming to the consensus that this hybrid strain of influenza — at least in its current form — isn’t shaping up to be as fatal as the strains that caused some previous pandemics.
In fact, the current outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in San Diego and southern Mexico late last month, may not even do as much damage as the run-of-the-mill flu outbreaks that occur each winter without much fanfare.
So why the freakout? I have my suspicions that there’s some racism involved. I’m not sure people would be talking about closing the border with Canada if this were focused in the north. There’s also the unfortunate association with pigs, which just contributes to the “Dirty Mexicans are going to kill us with their dirty disease!” mentality.
Maybe I’m just thinking wishfully and downplaying the facts because I don’t want anything to disrupt our vacation to the Bahamas next month, but it does seem like people are reaching a level of panic that is more based in emotion and prejudice than evidence. Also, I think we’re a lot more likely to encounter people who have recently been to Mexico in Iowa than in the Bahamas.
I’m a long-time fan of handwashing (and Miles is shaping up to be as well; he particularly loves rubbing his hands together with soap or lotion on them), and I think some basic precautions can go a long way, like President Obama mentioned in his speech last night.
Speaking of Miles, he did something funny last night. I was getting some asparagus ready for dinner, and he kept whining and tugging at me, trying to get my attention. I wasn’t quite sure what he wanted. I offered him cereal and cheese, two of his favorite snacks, but he wasn’t satisfied. He likes asparagus, but it didn’t occur to me that it would warrant begging until he went over to the garbage can, got out one of the asparagus ends I’d cut off in the preparation process, and came over and showed it to me.
It was like he was saying, “For the love of God, mother, what does it take to get a message through to you?” Then I gave him some cooked asparagus and he was happy. He ate a lot of it at dinner, too, and had the asparagus-pee diaper to prove it.
He impressed me with his communication skills. He’s using some basic ASL (including “all done” when I went to get him after his nap the other day) and picking up more words. I’m excited to hear what he has on his mind.