In this article about the Swine Flu, many people say that the hysteria over the flu is more dangerous than the flu itself. I’ve wondered the same thing.
I’ve read some opinions that the Mexican government created the hysteria so that people wouldn’t focus on the bad economy. I wonder why they would do that if Mexico City stands to lose something like 85 million dollars a day because of the Swine Flu.
I’ve also heard people say, “What’s the big deal about 19 deaths due to the flu when thousands die each year from seasonal flu?” Good question. I guess it’s because it’s a new strain that we weren’t sure if we could treat appropriately. It’s also expanding around the world.
Then I think about the World Health Organization. Aren’t they the ones who decide if something is a pandemic or not? If so, they must know something I don’t know or they are way off on this one.
Anyway, contemplating this while sitting in my house in Mexico City gives me something to do while I wait for the decisions from the government about schools and businesses opening this week.
I was a little bored from not doing anything for the last few days, so I decided to get out of the house and drive around today to see what was going on in Mexico City.
Here’s what I saw.
Paseo de La Reforma is one of the two main roads in Mexico City. Usually, it is bustling with traffic and people. It’s pretty much never this empty, but due to H1N1 (swine flu), today it was fairly empty.
This child street performer dressed up as a lion was also wearing a blue mask today. There were many street vendors still out today, despite the government’s advice to stay home.
The green taxis are an icon of the city. Today, the drivers were wearing masks and rubber gloves. This was the best picture I could get of a gloved taxista.
Everywhere you look around here, people are using masks. Yesterday in Walmart, I saw a mom strongly “reminding” her teenage son to keep his mask on. We wore them on the airplane to and from vacation this week, too.
So, the question everyone is asking is, “Does wearing a mask work to help me avoid swine flu?” It depends on who you ask. According to this AP article, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is not a lot of evidence that masks do much good, and have pointedly not recommended their use by the general public. Swine flu is thought to be transmitted in much the same way as seasonal flu, by touching something with the virus and then passing it to the nose or mouth or through coughing or sneezing.
If nothing else, it helps us avoid putting our hands to our face and in our mouth, which we KNOW helps fight the spread of swine flu.
I’m not sure if wearing it in your car while you drive (especially alone) is going to do anything. Nevertheless, in Mexico, it’s common now to see tons of people wearing the masks. In fact, there aren’t any at our local Walmart. They have sold out. Everyone is using them. It’s the newest fashion statement here in Mexico City.
(Via: Pura Vida)
What is big enough to shut down the two largest religions in Mexico: Soccer and the Catholic Church? Mass has been canceled in Mexico City’s National Cathedral on Sunday, soccer games were played without the usual crowds of thousands in closed and empty stadiums.
The Secretary of Education canceled class in Mexico City, the Federal District, and San Luis Potosi for more than a week. The Mexican government’s treasury department has even allocated almost half a billion dollars to fight it.
What could be big enough to cause this mayhem? The answer: Swine Flu.
What is Swine Flu?
Swine Flu is the talk of the town in one of the world’s largest metropolitan areas. It is a weird strain of the flu whose “combination of genes had not been seen before in flu viruses in humans or pigs.” You can’t get it from eating pork. But it is dangerous. So far there have been more than 1300 cases of it in Mexico with more than 80 deaths. You can read more about swine flu at the CDC website.
Is it safe to travel to Mexico?
The CDC website says, “CDC has NOT recommended that people avoid travel to Mexico at this time.” In fact, there have been no swine flu cases reported in Mexico’s beach resorts, which are hundreds of miles away from Mexico City.
While it’s not recommended to visit Mexico City right now, most of Mexico is not (yet) affected. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be cautious when deciding to visit Mexico or not.
How to protect yourself from Swine Flu
Inside Mexico has a great post on how to protect yourself from Swine Flu, which includes some no brainers, such as washing your hands, avoiding hospitals unless absolutely necessary, and limiting physical contact.
The Mexican government has also put out a bulletin with recommendations on how to protect yourself from swine flu.
How does Swine Flu affect the Poulette Family?
The Seminary has canceled class until May 6th. Our church has suspended all activity this weekend as well. We had already planned to go out of town, so it’s not going to affect us too much. We are taking the same precautions as everyone else, which is just basically avoiding a lot of contact with other people and washing our hands like crazy.
Many of the Seminary students travel all over the city and country for their weekend work at various churches, so they might be affected. Pray for this sickness and the country of Mexico right now. It doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon.
Swine flu is something that we will be wondering about for a while. Please keep praying for our family here in Mexico.
I just read these statistics from a survey done by Reforma, a local newspaper here in Mexico City, about what Mexicans think of President Barack Obama.
Two out of three Mexicans have a favorable opinion of the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
When asked, “What is your opinion of the President of the United States?”, 65% responded “very good” or “good”.
Thirteen percent said “okay.” Seven percent said “bad” or “really bad”, and 15% responded, “I don’t know.”
In the same study, 66% of the people interviewed consider that the relationship between Mexico and the United States is “very good/good”. Fifteen percent said “normal”, a 14% said “bad/very bad”. Five percent did not respond to the question.
(The survey was conducted March 28th by telephone to 850 respondents from all over Mexico and has a margin of error of +/- 3%)
Source (in Spanish)
Image by: Steve Rhodes on flickr