Swine Flu Fears Getting Absurd

I restrained myself for a couple days and avoided posting some angry screed about the major news outlets going way overboard on their “swine flu” coverage trying to create a panic b/c the panic would drive their ratings and readerships upwards.  It was a hard swallow, but I was pulling if off.  But then I came across this article about people not buying pork products in stores, and about several countries actually banning the importation of American/Mexican pork because of the flu:

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/business/economy/29trade.html?th&emc=th

You don’t catch the flu from eating meat people!  If you are looking for a really nasty illness causing germ to catch from food, that would be salmonella.  You catch flu from inhaling the flu virus in airborne form, or by touching water droplets recently deposited by an infected person.  And, at the risk of getting too scientific, this new H1N1 strain of influenza is called “swine flu” because it did originate in pigs.  But what is going around now is basically mutated into a human flu.  That is how it is passing from person to person in clusters just like colds and flus always do.  I’m sure we’ve all gotten sick countless times because a bug was going around our school or our workplace.  It happens.  Commonly.  This flu seems to be contagious like the flu always is.  It is killing a few people, like the flu always does.  Mostly, its causing people to be coughy, achy, stuffy head, fevery, just like a NyQuil commercial.  Because that’s what flu does.  If we want to be overly cautious and close schools and play soccer games in empty stadiums because its a new strain, perhaps more pernicious than normal strains and we don’t have a vaccine to protect the most vulnerable with yet, that’s I guess okay.  A bit panicky perhaps, but understandable.  But not eating pork?  Give me a break!  That’s not going to keep anyone a damn bit safer, and that message needs to get out.  I have been eating Virginia ham sandwiches all week at work, and it never occurred to me to not pack a pig product in my lunchbox.  Argh!

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