The Swine Flu (Potential) Pandemic of Aught-Nine: Day 4–The Libraries Are Still Open

So I figure it can’t be all bad if the libraries are still open, right? I retrieved the bulk of my special request books, so although it is annoying that I probably have to go back tomorrow to pick up the remaining titles, I’m all set for a quarantine! Well, we still need food. There’s a lot of starches in the house, and some frozen meat, but bland food is bad for morale. I know this, because I was racing to get home to meet the garage door repair guys (I always have a fear of repair guys showing up early and leaving because I’m not home, and having to reschedule), so I didn’t get to swing by the taco shop for a lunch burrito. I was looking at some pretty slim pickings for lunch, but decided to cook the frozen pizza instead. It should have plenty of flavor–it’s one of those barbecue chicken/red onion ones and it’s got cilantro. I am waiting for it to cook, so I am writing here instead of doing fifteen minutes of work and then stopping to eat.

The Swine Flu

So I see from the CDC update page that the cases in the United States have gone up quite high since I last reported:

The CDC Update on US Cases of Swine Flu A (H1N1):
April 28, 2009, 11:00 AM EDT
California: 10 people
Kansas: 2 people
New York City: 45 people
Ohio: 1 person
Texas: 6 people

The WHO is less up-to-date with its updates, and hasn’t added any new information to its website. So I look around online and the reputable press agencies are reporting 20 fatalities in Mexico are confirmed from swine flu, with another 152 suspected. That’s really not a very high number. I know people are concerned about why this flu is killing the age group (adults) that normally isn’t susceptible to the flu, and why it is only killing people in Mexico, but so far, I really do not understand the drama surrounding it. So people who have been in Mexico are showing up sick in other countries… but if it isn’t endemic to, let’s say, Spain, then it’s pretty easy to contain. The WHO probably has an algorithm for when to upgrade a pandemic alert, in order to better facilitate communication between the epidemiologists worldwide who are working on the problem, and to guide the allocation of resources, but I am getting the sense that the media is talking about it just to talk. 30,000 people or more died in the United States last year from the flu. 500,000 people died worldwide from the flu last year. Where were the travel advisories then? Nowhere. Not because of the flu, anyway.

I suppose I am sort of a media skeptic. It’s as best I can tell the opposite of a conspiracy theorist. If the media is turning something into a BFD, I’m apt to think that it’s just a lot of fuss and bother. That said, I am carefully tracking my symptoms with the enthusiasm of an armchair scientist; I even spiked a good fever last night! But it’s gone today. My neck and throat aren’t even that sort anymore. I am a little hyperalert about Fella, though. While we were standing in the book line at the library he said he was missing his balance, even though he didn’t really seem tottery. When we were getting him ready for his nap he said it again, and then he not only went right into his room, he went straight to the bed and I actually tucked him in. Normally he goes into his room and swears he’s going to play and play, and falls asleep on the floor. So it’s noteworthy, and this is me noting it, but he’s not sneezing or hot. We did use him up most righteously at the park last night; he’s probably just tired. Maybe he’s fighting off whatever it was I fought off. I think we are going to have a quiet afternoon, though. No fun places. He and Filly can park themselves in front of the TV and watch the movies we got from the library: Iron Giant and Teletubbies: Dance!. I’ll hang out nearby and pretend to work and it will all be quite cozy.

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