Monday, April 27, 2009
This Pig flu thing is taking hold of world right now!
The world's governments raced to avoid both a pandemic and global hysteria Sunday as more possible swine flu cases surfaced from Canada to New Zealand and the United States declared a public health emergency. "It's not a time to panic," the White House said.
Late Sunday, Mexico's health secretary raised the number of suspected deaths in that country to 103, and the number of cases to more than 1,600. Mexico, the outbreak's epicenter, canceled some church services and closed markets, restaurants and movie theaters. A televised variety show filled its seats with cardboard cutouts. Few people ventured onto the streets, and some wore face masks.
Canada confirmed cases in six people, including some students who _ like some New York City spring-breakers _ got mildly ill in Mexico. Countries across Asia promised to quarantine feverish travelers returning from flu-affected areas.
The U.S. declared the health emergency so it could ship roughly 12 million doses of flu-fighting medications from a federal stockpile to states in case they eventually need them _ although, with 20 confirmed cases of people recovering easily, they don't appear to for now.
Make no mistake: There is not a global pandemic _ at least not yet. It's not clear how many people truly have this particular strain, or why all countries but Mexico are seeing mild disease. Nor is it clear if the new virus spreads easily, one milestone that distinguishes a bad flu from a global crisis. But waiting to take protective steps until after a pandemic is declared would be too late.
Well I hope they figure something out soon. The last thing I want to deal with is this flu and worrying if "Mother Abagail" will call on me.