The Department of Health and Human Services is treating the H1N1 swine flu very seriously – so much so that they’re giving away money to help people spread the word about the viral threat. In a contest that ends August 17, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is asking American citizens to make video public service announcements about the H1N1 virus, and to upload them to YouTube. A government panel will pick the best video, and the producer of that video will get $2,500 as a prize. The result, they’re hoping, will be that a flood of videos warning people about swine flu will rush onto YouTube this summer.
In this economic recession, I feel reluctant to pass up a chance at $2,500, but I don’t think I can go along with the Health and Human Services campaign of fear about H1N1. The way I see things developing, I don’t see how the fear, or the public service announcement campaign is based in a reasonable concern.
So far in the United States, as of the end of last week, 40,617 people have caught the new strain of swine flu. Only 263 have died afterwards, and many of those people already had frail health. That’s less than a 1 percent fatality rate.
So, I’ll make a public service announcement about H1N1, but not the one that Kathleen Sebelius had in mind. I think I’ll make a video on behalf of H1N1, which has gained an undeservedly nasty reputation.