Well, I tried to avoid it, but I figured that I had better comment on the spread of swine flu, or more accurately H1N1 flu (those poor pigs in Egypt). To begin, everything is fine here in Guadalajara. Really. It breaks my heart that first the crisis, then the fear of drug cartels, and now this- is crushing the Méxican economy and tourism industry. Our cabbie yesterday told us he had been waiting for 6 hours to give someone a ride.
They have canceled classes in all schools and universities. Museums and government buildings are closed. But today after I rode the subway numerous times, flanked by people wearing masks, it seemed odd to me that they would not close one of the most densely populated confined spaces in the city.
This strain of flu is a problem, yes. It is scary to think of what can escalate from the spreading of germs. But at the same time, it seems the hysteria that comes with an unknown illness like this is just as detrimental- if not more so.
The New York Times relays, "...some hospitals have reported healthy people — the “worried well,” in the words of some health officials — returning from vacation in Mexico and going straight from the airport to the emergency room."
And now in the United States:
"Around the nation, drugstores have sold out of surgical masks. Schools have closed, sports games have been called off, and doctors’ offices — and their phone lines — are jammed. The truly anxious confess that they are trying to avoid touching elevator buttons, library books and the knobs on bathroom sinks."
People are being told not to travel to México. People leaving México are now being screened.
And now, times will most inevitably fall harder on many more in this country. The more I hear about swine flu hysterics, the further this notion sinks into my heart.
Walk / Quick stop at Pyay
5 weeks ago