If the swine flu hadn’t conveniently popped up on the scene just now, it would be worth releasing intentionally. We know that it’s an engineered organism that likely escaped from a lab completely accidentally, as these things happen, but the timing could not have been better given the world that is exhausted by the recession talk. Suddenly no one is beating Obama’s administration over the head with new statistics on bailout money, failure of auto giants or new energy measures. We’re all just happy he can go golfing.
Birds and pigs as well as horses, dogs, cats and others have always been repositories for the flu virus. Out of all the variants of flu strains out there any one of them can mutate and become a highly pathogenic highly infectious strain, but for the most part that does not happen. No matter how the virus mutates from generation to generation every season of every year typically the strains just don’t have the necessary virulence. Even this strain seems to lose steam the further away from Mexico you get, with cases in Canada only reporting mild symptoms.
The stats are not with the flu on this one – imagine over 100 people dead! In less than three weeks no less! (None in the first world, but hey, it’s only a matter of time right?) Never mind the fact that every year hundreds of thousands of people die of your average, regular, non-swine flu – now that we have a cool new name for it, we can start comparing hypothetical deaths of swine vs. bird strains.
So far the virus is being transmitted the same way regular flu is, so I guess it’s a good of way as any to keeping us all distracted on ‘facing the common enemy’ and forgetting ongoing issues with our countries. Seems to me like common sense measures like hand washing, plenty of rest, and avoiding friends who got back from Mexico recently will do the trick for now. Once it goes airborne and the sky starts to fall then I’ll worry.
On a completely different note, it’s snowing again in Calgary. Again. As in for the second time this week alone. It’s Tuesday. Doesn’t Nature realize I have a garden to plant?