UPDATED: see note after Porky
Ok, I've got a long post about all of my recent travels about 2/3 complete, but I had to put this one out there.
THE WORLD IS SWINE FLU CRAZY!!!
You can not believe how terrified people are of the swine flu in Asia. It's as if there was a new disease that makes your money disintegrate or something. I was in Japan last week and any plane coming from the US or Mexico was not allowed to disembark until everyone on board was cleared of the Flu. Singapore is now requiring that anyone coming from the US or Mexico go directly to their home (if they've got one here) or a designated dormitory and be quarantined for at least 7 days. This thing has been entirely blown out of perspective.
Our friend Becky needed to take her daughter to the doctor yesterday for a "non-flu" reason. It took almost 2 hours for her to be seen and she had to fill out a pile of paperwork about where she'd been over the last month and what type of symptoms she had before they'd even let her in the waiting room. All of the staff at the doctors office was dressed in full protective gear. I assume to protect them from this dangerous virus...THAT HASN'T EVEN BEEN SEEN IN SINGAPORE!!!
How about some numbers?
About 36,000 people die in the US each year from the regular old flu virus. Yes, these people are normally the very old, young or weak, but that's still a lot of people. Of course, when you compare that against the 350 million people in the country, that comes out to about 1 out of every 1000 people.
How many people died in Mexico City? Lets be overly conservative and say 500 to make the numbers simple. In a city of 25 million people, that comes out to 1 out of every 5000 people. Or 5 times less than the regular flu. "Oh my God, a less deadly Flu! Everybody Panic!!!"
Here's why I think everyone is scared.
We named it.
Swine Flu. Sounds scary, doesn't it. It's so scary, 10 countries banned the import of pork from Mexico and the US. The fact that you can't catch the virus from eating pork doesn't even register with the politicians. Anything to make yourself look like you're doing something important. Even if it makes you look like an ignorant retard to anyone with half a brain, it doesn't matter. Most of the world is even more ignorant than the politicians.
It just goes to show you what a slow news week and a sensationalist global media can do. If Barak Obama was found to be cheating on his wife last week, we never would have heard about the Swine Flu. (ooops, now its called the 2009 H1N1 flu. Does that sound better or worse?)
UPDATE: Melissa was at the mall today and passed a bank that wouldn't let you in the door unless you let them take your temperature. (They'd never let me in 'cause I'm so hot.)