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April 25, 2009

About this Swine Flu Thing

Alright, alright, now, let's not get hysterical (yet). The flu variant that has folks worried responds to two common treatments and there isn't enough data yet to tell how widespread it is or how severe it will be (so far the fatality rate has varied widely based on location).

On the other hand, there's no reason not to be prepared. Do the obvious:

(1) Wash your hands frequently when you're out and about. Try not to touch your face. Stop coughing into your hand and cough into your elbow or a tissue.

(2) I know a lot of folks, including in my workplace, use hand sanitizers frequently. Don't forget to sanitize your workspace; you're probably not the only person in there.

(3) Avoid shaking hands, hugging, or kissing friends and neighbors and prostitutes.

(4) Avoid crowded places. For example, I'm giving serious consideration to driving my own car to work next week instead of taking the metro, especially given the large Mexico-US transit population among the folks that ride the subway here in L.A.

(5) This is not the right time to share drink glasses or water bottles or half a candy bar with your coworker or your BFF. Use your brain, dingus.

Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, here's the latest news:

On Saturday, two new cases of swine flu were confirmed in Kansas the first U.S. cases outside of California or Texas. And New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Frieden announced that tests showed that eight New York schoolchildren had a type A influenza virus that was "probable" swine flu.

Samples have been sent to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for further testing for confirmation. The students showed only mild flu symptoms.

Keep in mind, anyone with even the mildest flu-like symptoms will be trumpeted by the media as another case (for example). It might fizzle; it might not. Let's wait and see.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 04:20 PM

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