The Swine Flu (Potential) Pandemic of Aught-Nine: Day 7–Technically a Real Pandemic, But in a Clinical and Non-Hysterical Way

Now that this disease of ours has proven to be not very lethal right now, I am terribly fascinated by it. This is really the perfect pandemic, if you think about it. Very few people are very sick, and only a tiny percentage of them are dying. Everyone is on alert and has the resources ready, but it’s like a big practice run for something awful in the future. We get to watch it spread out and test our efforts to contain it, but it’s not dire except maybe on a technical level of resource allocation and how close to dire it might be. In most cases, however, it’s not life and death. So we get to track, and watch, and study, and analyze, and prepare, and practice our school-closing scenarios, and count our supplies, and take good stock of our materials and knowledge, and we’ll be better prepared for something dire than any simulation would leave us. Because, face it: I’m sure there are medical/public health people trained specifically in how to design and manage an emergency training simulation, but there’s nothing like the real thing to focus people’s attention.

All that said, the CDC numbers are dramatic today:

The CDC Update on US Cases of Swine Flu A (H1N1):
May 1, 2009, 11:00 AM EDT
Arizona: 4 people (+3)
California: 13 people (-1)
Colorado: 2 people (new!)
Delaware: 4 people (new!)
Illinois: 3 people (new!)
Indiana: 3 people (+2)
Kansas: 2 people
Kentucky: 1 person (new!)
Massachusetts: 2 people
Michigan: 2 people (+1 again… maybe yesterday was a typo)
Nebraska: 1 person (new!)
Nevada: 1 person
New York: 50 people
Ohio: 1 person
South Carolina: 16 (+6)
Texas: 28 people, 1 death (+2 cases)
Virginia: 2 people (new!)

This thing is really spreading out. Fella and I skipped school today, because he was complaining last night of boogers (he never complains about being sick) and because I still have this throat/neck thing and my almost-fever. Filly is her usual bouncy self, and she is HUNGRY. I can’t figure it out. Maybe she has a tapeworm. I shouldn’t even say such things, I suppose. It’s not actually funny and our house isn’t that dirty and I don’t know why I even brought it up.

The WHO published its seventh update:

The situation continues to evolve rapidly. As of 06:00 GMT, 1 May 2009, 11 countries have officially reported 331 cases of influenza A(H1N1) infection.

The United States Government has reported 109 laboratory confirmed human cases, including one death. Mexico has reported 156 confirmed human cases of infection, including nine deaths.

The following countries have reported laboratory confirmed cases with no deaths – Austria (1), Canada (34), Germany (3), Israel (2), Netherlands (1), New Zealand (3), Spain (13), Switzerland (1) and the United Kingdom (8).

I really am behind on my TV and I haven’t showered for days and the kids need to start their naps and I have work to do, so I’ll probably just publish this here. I’ve been looking and looking, still, for the usual annual rates of influenza in Mexico and still not finding them (without spending hours and hours). The closest I got was that some vaccine program reduced the number of infant/toddler deaths in Mexico by about 500 cases a year between 1990 and 2005, but without reading Spanish that well and without access to the full article, I still don’t know if that’s a large drop in cases or not. That’s my goal for this pandemic: to find out.

In other news, we’ve been watching a lot of Iron Giant. I had always wanted to see it, and now we have it this week on VHS from the library. It’s pretty good. Even better than the movie (and its babysitting qualities) are the glimpses of the movies that were being previewed at the start of the tape. I did not know that Elizabeth Mitchell–Juliet on Lost–was the love interest in the Santa Clause 2. She looks exactly the same. It’s tripping me out.

And I had forgotten all about Michael Keaton as a snowman. I’ll let you look those clips up yourself. Our first not-IKEA kitchen estimate came in at significantly higher, even without demolition, and I am waiting for the last any minute now. I’ve spent so much time thinking about the IKEA looks and configurations, I am sort of relieved that the other look is more expensive. It’s actually twice as expensive for the materials, but the installation rates are not cheaper enough to make up for it.

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  • Sasha  On May 1, 2009 at 4:42 pm

    I am another middle-class mother of two little ones (a he and a she) who is fascinated in the pandemic going-ons in a sort of anthropological way. And I just had to comment since I am also taking advantage of the IKEA kitchen sale. I just spent about 3 and a half hours at the Woodbridge IKEA today placing my order (20% off, including my Corian countertop!), and was sad to see that IKEA had fallen for the flu craziness. Only two days ago my son could play in the play area, but today it was closed, as were all the water fountains. Which made for a long 3 and a half hours with two tiny grumpy people.

    Good luck on your kitchen, and thanks for the entertaining analysis of the “pandemic” so far!

  • Karen  On May 1, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Ha, ha! I am so happy you dropped by! We’re going with the Adel Medium Brown, and I decided against the pantry with the front panel that pulls all the shelves out in favor of the one with the regular door with individual shelves. And we’re going with the quartz countertops, which I thought was not part of the IKEA kitchen discount. I will be stoked if it is.

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