The corporate news media panic over H1N1 continues to be separated from the everyday behavior of most Americans. Sure, there are a small number of people who have gotten silly and started wiping down doorknobs with Lysol even though the virus couldn’t survive on such surfaces for very long anyway. Yes, there have been some hair-trigger school closings, but for the most part, Americans realize that they are not in the middle of a new Black Death.
I was in several airports last week, and I only saw one person wearing a face mask – shown in this video. I actually watched him take the face mask off as soon as he left the airport. A good lot of protection he got. Do flu viruses spread in airports more often than anywhere else? There’s no evidence for such a belief.
I don’t understand why anyone in the USA would be walking around with a mask on their faces now, if they wouldn’t do the same thing to protect themselves from flu viruses every winter. In the USA, the only fatality from the H1N1 virus has come from a child from Mexico who caught the virus in Mexico. Cases in this country have been unpleasant, but not any more unpleasant than the typical flu that most people get in the wintertime.
I heard a health expert yesterday defend the dire warnings about H1N1, even though he admitted that the disease isn’t very prevalent, and isn’t very serious, with the argument that the H1N1 virus might mutate into a more deadly version, and if that were to happen, then we’d all be in a lot of trouble. He gave the bird flu excuse for alarm: That we need to worry about something that’s not serious just on the off-chance that it could become serious later, sometime.
If this concern has any merit, then wouldn’t it be better for people to go ahead and catch the relatively normal, survivable H1N1 virus now, to build up some form of resistance against a future, possible, reliably fatal version. If you’re worried about swine flu killing you, then the rational thing to do seems to be to keep your face mask off, and get sick with this virus as soon as you can, before it has the chance to mutate into something nastier.