Friday, August 28, 2009

What's your temperature?

So it seems that I spoke too soon when I thought the H1N1 hype was beginning to fall off.

Five people have died in Taiwan and 47 severe cases have been reported. Of course in the grand scheme of things these numbers are small. Australia has reported more than 130 deaths, Malaysia more than 60 and Singapore more than 10.

Can anyone tell me why this thing hasn't been officially upgraded to pandemic? Isn't the definition of pandemic an epidemic that has spread across large distances such as an entire country or continent?

Last I checked, North America, Asia and Australia are all different continents.

At the same time, I don't really understand why people are going so crazy over this thing. Yes, it's a disease. Yes, people have died. But no one goes this nuts over the regular old "human" flu. As far as I can tell it still kills more people than the swine flu. I feel like it's more a fear of the unknown and therefore being blown out of proportion.

According to the Taiwan Department of Health (DOH, heh) a computer simulation estimates the disease will last in Taiwan for about 200 weeks because it is like to infect 30 percent of the population at about 30,000 people per week.

This is one of those moments where I ask, why would it stop after the 200 weeks? Whose to say I won't get the swine flu tomorrow and then again in two years (provided I'm here that long)? Will that last week of 30,000 people not pass it on to more people?

I suppose they're probably assuming that at that point we will have figured out how to beat this thing. There will be vaccinations galore and if need be we'll just start putting our children in big plastic bubbles.

Speaking of children, a student at one of our schools came to school Tuesday night and then was in quarantine at the hospital by the next morning with a confirmed case of H1N1.

Since then, our schools have taken to forcing hand sanitizer on us as we walk through the door. Which, I might add, we can't walk through the door until they check our temperature. I'm sure they're checking into the prospect of plastic bubbles at this moment.

Oh H1N1, I'm still not nearly as afraid of catching you as I am the pneumonic plague.

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