Friday, May 15, 2009

Here Goes the Media Again - H1N1 and 5 Schools Closed

Here goes the New York news media again. In the last few days, five schools in New York City have been closed because of potential H1N1 (Swine Flu) cases in their schools including one principal in critical condition. The principal is reported to have a pre-existing condition prior to contracting H1N1 (Swine Flu). If you have certain pre-existing conditions, even the seasonal flu can cause major problems.

My message is still the same. There's no need to be alarmed. Just be alert and take the precautions such as washing hands with soap and water before eating and a whole list of advice we've all heard by now. However, I wouldn't even be overly concerned if I am infected with H1N1 right now.

One reporter on the news said, "Just when we thought the Swine Flu went away, it's back." Many people erroneously thought that the H1N1 virus went away. That is absolutely not true. The general public and the people in the media misunderstood. The experts are saying that we don't have to be too alarmed, not because the number of cases have declined. The number of cases have actually been growing. On May 2nd, there were 160 confirmed cases (and 1 death) in the U.S. Today(May 15th), there are 4298 confirmed cases (with 3 deaths) in the U.S. This notion of H1N1 "gone away" is laughable when there are 30 times as many cases as there were 13 days ago. Where do they hire these health/science reporters in these major news media?

Despite the large increase in H1N1 infection (in the U.S. and globally), we really don't have to be alarmed right now because this H1N1 virus is not lethal at this point in most cases (in comparison to the seasonal flu). At this point, it is less lethal than the seasonal flu. (However, it may be a different story at the end of the year when the next flu season begins.)

People have to understand the difference between "widespread" and "severe". If one seasonal flu type is very widespread, does that mean we should all panic? You would say, "Of course not." Why not? That's because the seasonal flu is not lethal in most cases even if it becomes widespread. That's exactly my point. This H1N1 virus is actually milder than the seasonal flu (at this point). Although it has been spreading and will continue to spread, there's no cause for panic because it is milder than the seasonal flu. This is exactly why I wouldn't even be that concerned if I am infected with this H1N1 virus right now. If you think it's irrational to panic in response to the seasonal flu, then you should know that it's just as irrational to panic because of this H1N1 (swine flu) virus (at this point.)

Let's keep in mind that most people who've been infected by this H1N1 recover. Out of 4298 confirmed cases, 4295 people recovered. That is a 99.9% recovery rate. These numbers indicate that it is milder than the seasonal flu. However, it is rapidly spreading, but it is mild because most people recover from it. That's exactly why I wouldn't be concerned even if I get infected right now.

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