Posted Tuesday, April 28, 2009 10:23 AM | Contributed by Jason Hammond
Six Flags Inc. confirmed Monday that it shut down indoor facilities — including restaurants and show venues — at its Mexico City theme park over the weekend at the recommendation of Mexican health officials working to contain the spread of swine flu.
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Interesting how much more dangerous it seems in Mexico. Then again, they've probably had way more cases, and thus more fatalities.
Man, a park must be a great place to pass on disease when you think about it.
One of the news stories I saw last night theorized that the strains that have left Mexico are less potent, which may account for some of that. Obviously there's also a huge socioeconomic factor as well.
It's a little annoying that the EU agencies are making this out to be worse than the US feds are.
Annoying? I dunno, it just shows that as usual the US and the EU can't agree :)
I was half thinking of trying to track down Thriller in Aguascalientes later this year, but I reckon I'm going to put that on ice for a while...
It's not that a horrible disease is spreading, it that fear, panic, and control is spreading. Oops. I've already said too much.
How many people have actually died from swine flu in the US?
I am not trying to say that we should not be alarmed, but really, do we need the fear-mongering on "news networks"?
I'm wondering the same thing. I mean, no one wants to get sick, but things like SARS and West Nile come about and everyone's running around with their masks on screaming "we're all gonna die!1", but then when you look at the mortality rates, it's like.. "oh.".
My brother had West Nile a couple of years ago, and while it certainly stuck with him for a while, it wasn't nearly the problem that it was made out to be.
It's weird watching the coverage on TV. You see these experts saying things like Pandemic Level 4 or 5, and these graphics showing all these circles where there are outbreaks throughout the world. Then the anchor, who looks ready to cry, asks the expert what we can do to stop the spread of this deadly disease-- and the expert says "wash your hands."
The caution is warranted until you know the extent and variation of the disease. If it is killing people in Mexico, and you don't know precisely why, then you have to work on the assumption that it can kill people elsewhere.
The coverage I've seen on the subject has been pretty even handed, but I avoid the newsertainment networks and local schmucks for the most part. Nothing I've seen constitutes fear-mongering, and if anything, I think the feds are holding back so as not to cause financial harm to the economy.
Remember that some people die of influenza anyway, in the tens of thousands, every year. A nastier strain of it could do far more damage if it's not treated.
As was said on TWiT earlier, 44,000 people a year die in auto accidents in the US. 86 so far this past week have died from swine flu, period. I'm more worried about getting in my car than about the pork virus...
Wow, I forgot that SF had a park in Mexico. This can't be good for their economic situation, since seeing the news people in Mexico City are not even going to church or the market. I remember the same sort of reaction with the Avian Flu... and how that was the next global pandenmic, and was going to kill millions. I hate media over-inflation, but appreciate the CDC's fast response to reading flu treatments in case they are needed.
Until the CDC knows exactly what's up, their job is to simultaneously prepare health professionals for the worst-case scenario while informing the public about what they can/should do, and utilizing the media to disburse accurate information without creating undue panic. This isn't easy when: a) the media gets better rating by inciting hysteria, b) the public isn't well-educated on complex health issues but generally knows how to wash their hands, and c)health professionals aren't positive yet whether the virus is experiencing a "shift" or a "drift" (drift is likely controlled by exisiting treatments and vaccines, not necessarily so with a shift - viruses mutate).
How do you simulatneously prevent and prepare for pandemics (or war)? If Einstein couldn't answer it, we're unlikely to...Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, April 29, 2009 10:08 AM
You know I hate people slinging around "the media" as some evil source of nonsense, and this time is no different. Again, if you choose to consume crappy media, it's not reason to write off the entire industry. What I've viewed has been completely reasonable.
Incidentally, it was the World Health Organization that elevated the concern first. I agree with Bill that so far, the CDC is doing all of the right things.
Just to chime in. I usually slam "the media" for being sensationalistic and whatnot. There was some fear and panic on the initial days of the discovery but for the most part I think they have been doing a good job informing the public that there is a different kind of flu going around with the possibility of turning into a pandemic if its not contained. I think the CDC has been doing a good job as well. We don't really know what we have on our hands and seeing that we have the ability to travel so far, so fast, I think it's very prudent to be overly cautious when something like this is flying around.
Think of the outcome of SARS, AIDS, West Nile Virus, Etc. if the public wasn't aware of it?
In defense of "responsible media", (since after Jeff posted I recognize I may have come off as somewhat "media-hostile"), their job is also quite difficult when public health officials have little to say other than "isolation and quarantine" or "wash your hands". Until more is known, there's not THAT much to report...and in a matter of a week or two, the reporters have a LOT of stories to put out.
Since we've now had our first US death, it's probably not long before some degree of panic ensues. Fortunately, the responsible people seem to outnumber the others by quite a margin...for the time being. A virus that leaps from animal populations to humans is one thing, but when it proves transmissible from person-to-person, then there is reason for concern.
It's never the right time for mass-hysteria.Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, April 29, 2009 11:40 AM
I'm not nearly as worried as a lot of people. Mole nailed it:
The Mole said:
I'm more worried about getting in my car than about the pork virus...
And I'm more worried about getting in my car with the pork virus.
Pundits often compare these outbreaks with the Spanish flu, which killed millions in 1918-1919. But from what I've read, a lot of the spread rate and mutability of that virus could be attributed to the unnatural situation of millions of soldiers forced into close contact in trenches together for long periods of time without benefit of hygiene, sanitation, or medical attention. These soldiers then took their bugs home with them to spread them around the world. The odds of a virus developing in this kind of an environment again are slim.
Gator, this variant of swine/avian flu has already been proven to transmit person-to-person. But that doesn't mean there is cause for panic. There is a very good chance that within the next three years, most people on the planet will be exposed to this bug, will either get sick or won't, and the vast majority will survive and acquire immunities to protect them from its reinfection ever again.
Usually, viruses that spread quickly and infect easily tend to have low mortality rates. This is only logical. Bugs that infect quickly with high mortality (like Ebola or Marburg) tend not to spread easily, because people become incapacitated and die before they can pass it on to many others. The converse is true: viruses that spread quickly, tend to have low mortality rates, such as cold viruses and influenza.
The best course is simply to use proper precaution. If you're sick with symptoms of the flu, don't go to work or school. Wash your hands often. Use proper sanitation. Try to avoid others that are sick. And stock up on a run of videos in case your kid's school gets canceled for two weeks.
"Gator, this variant of swine/avian flu has already been proven to transmit person-to-person. But that doesn't mean there is cause for panic. There is a very good chance that within the next three years, most people on the planet will be exposed to this bug, will either get sick or won't, and the vast majority will survive and acquire immunities to protect them from its reinfection ever again."
Not cause for panic...cause for "concern" is what I said, and I'll stick with that. As people get sick (or don't) and acquire immunity to THIS strain of H1N1, that would theoretically protect then from the "drift" that occurs as minor mutations occur to the virus. May or may not protect them, however, from the next "shift", when the virus has a significant mutation. The *new* thing is always somewhat dicey, because we just don't know how a particualr strain behaves until we have enough verified cases to draw useful conclusions.
edited for paragraphs...still no luck with paragraphs...Last edited by rollergator, Wednesday, April 29, 2009 2:45 PM
Yeah, I didn't mean to imply that you were suggesting we panic. I was sort of speaking rhetorically.
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