You may not have heard, but there seems to be a problem with Swine Flu. It hasn’t really been covered by the news media, so don’t feel badly if you’ve missed it (this is a little thing I like to call sarcasm).
The way it has been explained to me, it could be a pandemic.
I am not sure what a pandemic means, but it sure sounds scary.
There must not be anything else newsworthy at this time of year in order for this story to become so big.
While I don’t want to take this situation lightly, I have grown up in the generation that has been beset by the end of the world on at least 20 different occasions.
The Cold War. Shark attacks. Hurricanes. Fires. Wars. Cigarettes. Y2K. Bird flu. Terrorists. O.J. Anthrax. Planes crashing into stuff. The Unabomber. Global warming. Banks. Weapons of Mass Destruction. Pirates. Drug cartels. Sarah Palin. Gangs taking over schools. Paris Hilton. Michael Jackson and that creepy monkey (or creepy Michael Jackson and that monkey).
There has been a chance all of these could affect me directly and in some cases deliver my untimely death. I was especially concerned about bumping into O.J. at a golf course.
On top of that, the good people at the National Weather Service now tell me a tornado or some sort of storm is going to attack me.
Every 15 minutes. Right in the middle of my favorite TV show.
I have become numb.
As usual the focus of health and safety is dropped directly in the lap of public schools.
The government in all their wisdom (again… for the uninitiated, this is called sarcasm), has recommended that public schools be shut down for at least 14 days if there is a suspicion that a student has a headache, bellyache, or the sniffles that were contrived from a pig.
Easy enough. Students seldom complain about not feeling well while they are at school. Shouldn’t be too hard to tell if a child has picked up the flu from a farm animal.
President Obama might have been more helpful if he had insisted, during his speech, that all schools should clean (w/ bleach) all desks, door handles, bathrooms, etc. each and every night. No exceptions.
Put us all on notice.
To me, this is a better plan of action than just saying this new flu strain is “bad” and we should be careful.
And we need to remember to wash our hands.
Closing schools or even talking about it should be a last resort.
In these difficult economic times, asking parents (especially single parents) to find and pay for extra day care for up to two weeks is a huge burden.
I am not saying that we shouldn’t take the Swine Flu seriously, because we should.
But taking students from schools and putting them around other kids in day care doesn’t really seem like progress to me.
I wonder if our country’s efforts to educate people through the media crosses the line, and we end up just scaring ourselves.
And our children. And older people.
There are so many other issues that don’t seem to qualify as “breaking news”. Most have been on our radar for years and unfortunately don’t have a catchy name like Swine Flu (it should be noted flu is so much scarier when it comes from an animal… I am dreading the Dog Flu next winter because all Buddy the Dog wants to do is lick me and nap).
In 2008, the following are numbers of people predicted to die from each disease or event (yes, I did actual research for this blog… please don’t come to expect this type of extra effort in the future… information taken from the Disease Control and Prevention Database).
In the United States 307,655 people would die of cancer.
7,258 of skin cancer. 21,289 of colon cancer. 26,987 of prostate cancer.
Oh, it gets better. Or worse if it happens to you. Especially if you were one of the 12,372 people who were murdered.
57 people perished by falling off a cliff. 1 person “bit” it by a shark attack. 40 were killed when struck by lightning.
4,624 died in a motorcycle accident. 1,062 unfortunately fell down steps, and didn’t get up.
8,432 passed away from HIV/AIDS. Remember when this was the “breaking story”? Now old news.
It’s not as exciting to report on anymore. But people are still sick.
It goes on and on. 7 died from an incident with sports equipment. 1,737 in a fire. 2 got it when their idiot doctor left something in them during surgery.
28 in an earthquake, avalanche, or landslide.
55,105 had a stroke from which they didn’t recover.
43 got stung by a bee and didn’t recover.
My point here… research is exhausting. And it is evidently not safe to leave your house, play sports, or have surgery.
Americans get sick, hurt, and die from lots of things. What we shouldn’t do is scare children needlessly and close schools because it makes people feel better temporarily.
Schools certainly have to do their part, but why are we the only ones being mentioned that need to help slow down the pandemic.
What about malls? And churches? And businesses, factories, colleges, the Kentucky Derby, NASCAR, Major League Baseball games, the NBA playoffs and even CNN?
I wouldn’t be surprised if more people work in the CNN building in Atlanta than there are children attending school in the 5 closest counties to me.
Any chance they will close? Didn’t think so.
Can’t we be proactive with our safety and still use good judgment?
I think the only thing that won’t recover from this latest drama is our common sense as a country.
It may be dead forever.
Please remember to cover your mouth when you cough, wash your hands, and stay at home if you are sick.