Monday, April 27, 2009

Don't let fear overtake us

The global pandemic that many have feared might be coming, may finally be here in the form of swine flu. While the world is certainly much better prepared for it than, say, the Spanish flu crisis after the end of World War I, it's certainly not a time to be complacent about it. But neither is it a time to allow fear to spread, even though there are cases of swine flu here in Canada and as far afield as Scotland and New Zealand.

Just the other day, when it was confirmed it had started in Mexico, naturally the calls came to close the border with that country -- starting with, of course, a certain gentleman on CNN. Need we say his name?

The point is, folks, we should be cautious about the matter, but we shouldn't let fear overtake us.

During the SARS outbreak in Toronto back in 2003, I actually made a point of making a couple of trips to Toronto to show I wasn't afraid. One of those trips was to the Ontario Science Centre, and it felt like the place was a cavern as only a handful of other people were there in a normally busy place. Then came the Northeast Blackout, a totally unrelated but just as freaky event, and the major city was given another major setback.

I say we just go on living life. Go to the places we want to, but just take the normal precautions anyone would. And certainly, we shouldn't be overreacting by closing the borders to certain groups of people. After all, we need those temporary migrant workers, especially with planting and harvesting seasons.

About the only precaution I'd suggest is for people coming back from vacations and who fill in those customs declaration forms in-flight, the one question where they ask you if you plan to visit a farm within the next fortnight. Be honest about that one -- after all, most of us city folk do have friends in the country who we visit and we don't want to be The One that caused their livestock to die, and the price of food to skyrocket in already tough times.

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1 comment:

Phillip Huggan said...

I dunno, maybe it is the elevation that causes low humidity. Elevation makes pneumonia more deadly. Mexico City and San Luis Potosi have high elevations. Not so much Baja Mexico and IDK about Oaxaca, but the majority of deaths are Mexico City.
The origination in Mexico is a complicating factor, but people aren't dying because they are Mexican, they are dying because they live at high altitude in Mexico City. These cities would be most at risk if global Swine Flu outbreak:
The severely sickened women in California with a weakened immune system developed diarrhea but *not* pneumonia. If she lived at altitude I bet she would've died of pneumonia.

Still corrollaries with first Spanish Flu wave so want vaccine and want to wipe out this weak "wave" and/or animal reservoir ASAP to avoid replaying fall 1919 second wave.