Swine flu

Apr. 30th, 2009 04:18 pm
cjsmith: (Default)
[personal profile] cjsmith
My information about the swine flu situation comes from two sources:

1) the WHO web site and the people who link to it

2) LJ and Facebook people going AAAAAAH NOBODY PANIC! STOP PANICKING! SERIOUSLY, CUT IT OUT RIGHT NOW!

Has anybody seen anybody panicking? The news may be full of stories describing panic; note the total lack of traditional news media in my info list above. Has anyone here seen or talked to someone who was off their nut about it?

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:20 pm (UTC)
ext_113261: (Default)
From: [identity profile] evilegg.livejournal.com
I have seen two people off their nut- and both have tiny babies.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:24 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Yeah? Hmm, I wonder how I'd react if I had a tiny baby. Of course, if I had a tiny baby I wouldn't be me, so maybe that's moot. :-)

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Date: 2009-05-01 01:38 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joedecker.livejournal.com
I think tiny babies make people off their nut to begin with, something chemical.

Of course, I may have cause and effect backwards.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:22 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ladycelia.livejournal.com
I have one friend who may have read a little too much Steven King who is more than a bit upset about it. But she's the exception.

This is a worrisome flu. Flu is pretty deadly even when we have reasonable resistance. With this strain, there doesn't seem to be any resistance to speak of. But we have the technology to track it, work up a vaccine for it, and help prevent it from becoming 1918 all over again.

Me? I get a flu shot every year because I'm prone to pretty serious reactions to flu. It's nearly killed me before, so I don't take chances.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Wow. I've had some high fevers with flu, but I've never come close to death by it. That's scary.

I get a flu shot every year too, but in my case it's sort of like "Oh, look, I can put new antibodies in my body's reference library for free, without having to get sick first? Cool."

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:25 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] platypuslord.livejournal.com
After seeing several alarming news stories, I've been sort of wondering if I should panic.
Seems like a lot of effort, though.

I think yours is the first social-media comment I've seen (except for one "do you have swine flu yet?" Facebook quiz, which can't aptly be described as panicked).

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Panic is exhausting!

Interesting; I see *mostly* social-media comments on it. (Er, "mostly" meaning most of what I see about swine flu is on LJ or FB, not "mostly" meaning I see nothing else on LJ or FB. Wow, that would suck.)

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lizzie-omalley.livejournal.com
I had a ninth grader who was a little off her nut about it but this 9th grader is a little off her nut to begin with so that's not saying anything at all.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:30 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
hahaha! Well said. (I admit it, I did laugh out loud.)

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:34 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] psi-star-psi.livejournal.com
Depends upon what you mean by panicking. One high school is closed in SJ for a week, we got a robo-call from Ike's school to let everyone know they're keeping an eye on it, and the drop-in daycare I took the kids to today made everyone use hand sanitizer going in and out. Not quite a panic, I guess.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:40 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Yeah, it's hard to know whether to read those as people panicking, organizations covering themselves, or measures designed to keep the people who are panicking from getting worse. The high school that's closed, is that the one where that 16-year-old girl (I don't know the name - the first confirmed case in Sta Clara County) goes to school? I can see *those* school officials having to cover their fundaments big time.

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Or it could be option D.

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Re: Or it could be option D.

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(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-30 11:39 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] selenite.livejournal.com
Fort Worth has closed its school system and canceled the annual downtown arts festival scheduled for this weekend. Local drugstores are sold out of breathing masks. I placed an order for breath masks through Amazon--got back a notice that they were sold out, try ordering this other one.

Haven't seen any running around screaming, though. I'd describe this as paranoia rather than panic.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-04-30 11:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
I guess a symptom like that (masks sold out) is one I wouldn't notice, because I have that kind of junk hanging around the house anyway. Plus a truckload of cough drops. I always seem to need them when I'm on the road, so I buy a bag, and I bring it home, and it goes in the box with eight million other bags. When cough drops are reported all sold out, come on over to my house. I have PLENTY.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:51 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ame-chan.livejournal.com
I am definitely a bit worried? But I'm also pretty well prepared, in fact I would wager that we're pretty darn well prepared to treat the reported symptoms, if anyone here gets sick.

That made me feel less worried, once the shopping was done, in fact getting the masks from Medex last night was my final preparedness thing and it was a huge *phew!*

Now it's just, what will be, will be, so be careful out there.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:01 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Now it's just, what will be, will be, so be careful out there.

I guess that's closer to how I feel. I've heard that many of the confirmed H1N1 (H5N1? Now I'm confusing myself) cases out there are experiencing perfectly reasonable mild-ish flu symptoms. I'd rather not have the flu, personally, but honestly I'd never rather have the flu, so there you have it.

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Date: 2009-04-30 11:55 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] wooddragon.livejournal.com
Here's where I get some of my news:

http://www.ap-foodtechnology.com/Industry-drivers/All-of-humanity-under-threat

Note the incomplete quote leading one to think we are under a dire threat.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 12:03 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Hah! Yes. We human organisms move around the globe with amazing rapidity. Technically speaking, yes, we're all under threat -- of this flu, of a regular flu, of a cold....

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cassidyrose.livejournal.com
I am quite concerned. Not panicked, but very concerned. I would not be this concerned if I didn't have small child, but I do. My sister also has an infant. These things make it more worrisome. Also, my son goes to pre-school and is in close contact with many other children and other adults. The kids are required to wash their hands before snack and after coming in from playing outside (standard, not just because of the flu) and while that helps it won't get everything. Kids his age (2-3 years old) still stick their fingers in their mouths a lot and don't have a good sense of hygiene. We are being more vigilant about his hand washing than normal and are trying to keep his fingers out of his mouth, especially when we are out in public and he is doing things like touching shopping carts. I canceled a non-essential doctor's appointment for him this week as I saw no need to bring him to the germy office at this point unless we really had to be there. Risk outweighed the benefit on that one.

That said, we are pretty much living our lives as normal. I do know that if anyone in his class contracts it all the kids are probably getting it and that is unsettling. I don't see other parents panicking, but I do see them being concerned.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:37 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
It must be hard to be a parent of a young child in ways like this. You can decide what precautions you want to take to keep yourself safe; you've probably had bouts of flu, you know what to do, and you know what lengths you're willing to reach to avoid it. But a kid is *not with you* all the time, and you don't get control of the muscles that put his hands in his mouth.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] svashtar.livejournal.com
I work for a school district, and there is definite panic. People are keeping healthy kids at home.

Frankly, the whole thing is ridiculous.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:32 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Non-immuno-compromised, health-insurance-carrying healthy kids? Hrm. But I can't comment on what I'd do in their shoes; if I were a parent I might be certifiably insane about keeping my kid from harm.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 12:13 am (UTC)
curmudgn: (Default)
From: [personal profile] curmudgn
Opinion at my workplace is that while there may well be a threat (and the ones hardest to sell on the idea there is a threat are the ones who are old enough to remember the '76 go-round with swine flu), a large amount of the media hysteria is driven by their unending need to fill up a 24-hour-a-day news cycle with SOMEthing.

To put it as someone put it to me today: "the economy looks like it's beginning to stabilize, the wars aren't flaring up, there aren't any pirates to watch at the moment, health care and the budget are still a ways off, so let's have a nice round of OMGKillerGermsAAAAAAAAAAGGHHHHHH today!"

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 12:35 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
I wonder what it's like to try to fill up a television channel when not much nearby is awful or horrific. Heck, sometimes it must be hard to fill it up when there IS something awful or horrific, but without much new information about it available. I don't envy those folk their jobs. I'm an introvert (those in the peanut gallery, quit laughing; I'm majorly introverted) and would just want to say "OK, we're shutting down until something happens."

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 12:22 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] abqdan.livejournal.com
My sister-in-law Kerry in england wrote yesterday that a local woman came in to her store there, and told Kerry that she'd thrown all the pork out of her freezer because of the swine flu. Kerry's comment to me: I wish she'd thrown it in my direction!

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 12:28 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Amen to that!

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:23 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] otterpop58.livejournal.com
Tomorrow Sam and I will fly from MIA to BOS, then get a ride to Woodstock, CT where we will dance with ~100 people from all over the Northeast. We'll spend Sunday night in Boston, take the subway back to BOS and fly home. A week later (assuming I'm still alive) I'll fly from FLL to DFW to SJC and then drive to Big Sur to spend a somewhat-isolated month with people from all over.

I feel like I should wear a shirt with a target on it, or a picture of a petri dish.

No panic here. I just have to remember to breath not breath. :)

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:30 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Yeah, it sounds like you would want latex around your eyes and nose!!

At least it's not the New Year's C3 weekend. There's something about that weekend: no one simply goes there healthy, stays healthy and comes home healthy.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:33 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] zpdiduda.livejournal.com
I bought masks, hand disinfectant and a few bottles of electrolyte drink today. No panic, just prep.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
I wonder if a lot of the commentary I'm seeing is "One man's panic is another man's prep." If someone sees you buy masks, perhaps that person thinks you're panicking. Meanwhile you are perfectly calm and you're simply buying some stuff at the store because you want to have it.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] mama-hogswatch.livejournal.com
Yes, the news is being all "BE SCAWWWD" and I'm seeing people act like dorks about it.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
I guess I've been lucky. The dorkiest thing I've seen anybody do is go to Costco for Kleenex, TP, and aspirin.

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:58 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] visgoth.livejournal.com
I saw a guy wearing a mask today.

I think it is amusing that everybody who I've heard interviewed who had it has said it was pretty mild. Enough to make them stay home, but most of them comment they have been sicker before.

Work has been absolutely nuts about it. We're doing national level reporting, polling the critical infrastructure representatives every 12 hours, three conference calls a day, &c., &c.. The level of effort is about the same as we go through when a typical Cat 4 or 5 hurricane hits CONUS, but less than we went through for Katrina.

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Date: 2009-05-01 01:02 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
"Mild" is what I'd been hearing, too, although I don't see how that squares with reports that it can kill. Maybe it can kill only if your body doesn't have reserves to draw on? I'm no medical doctor.

I figured your work might be in high gear. Are you getting crazy shifts or lots of overtime?

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Date: 2009-05-01 01:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] oddhack.livejournal.com
Reporters are panicing that they can't sensationalize this enough, judging by the front covers of newspapers as I walk into the grocery store. My standards group actually had a discussion about whether or not to cancel our meeting in the UK in 10 days (er, in the event of a breakout in the US, the UK is about the *best* place we could be :-) but ended up behaving sanely.

I do plan to be even more assiduous about hand-washing during and after my social dancing, until this winds down.

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Date: 2009-05-01 01:16 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Yeah, I'm fine with being conscientious about hand-washing. Personally, I can't shake the notion that it's the airborne stuff that tends to get me, but hey. Maybe if I wash my hands I won't pass anything to the next guy before I know I've got it.

If there were a major breakout in the US, maybe the UK would send your team right back home. That would suck. "I'm sorry, sir, but that airplane you just spent eight hours on is the one you're climbing right back into." I wonder if anyone has ever died of leg cramps.

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Date: 2009-05-01 01:41 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] joedecker.livejournal.com
No real panic, no. I did hear VP Biden quoted today as saying some damn fool stuff about not letting his kids take airplanes (a situation which is now in heavy spin control), but seriously, I haven't seen the actual anxiety up close.

In terms of actions like the Ft. Worth schools and such, it's difficult to tell the difference between "too much caution" in stuff that's potentially growing exponentially. Either it goes big-time or not, etc. I tend to think that's an overreaction, but I'm not willing to go so far as to call it panic without observing the panic myself.

As for myself, I find myself washing my hands a little more often this week.

By the way, Sam and Kim said to say hi. :)

--Joe


(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 01:54 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
it's difficult to tell the difference between "too much caution" in stuff that's potentially growing exponentially.

That's a big factor that I think may often be overlooked. Exponential curves are some scary shit. The other factor in the caution equation, of course, is just how bad it is to get this flu. I've heard "mild" and I've heard "fatal" and for me, who has seen neither a sick person nor a good explanation from someone who has of how this flu is both, it's hard to guess where to put the caution-meter.

HI SAM AND KIM!!!!

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Date: 2009-05-01 02:13 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] kimatha.livejournal.com
I have not personally seen anyone panicking. I've been making a lot of rather terrible swine flu jokes myself, mainly because a couple of people at my work have been sick with regular flu this week.

But one of them came back to work Wednesday, and came into my office practically crying because one of her coworkers had bitched her out for coming to work while she was still sick. That seemed like a little overreaction but I didn't think anything of it because the bitching co-worker is kind of a bitch anyway. But then the other sick person came back today and told me people were shrinking away from her and holding their elbows in front of their faces when she walked by.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 02:21 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Yeah, I've mostly been talking about eating bacon, because I like bacon and this brings it to mind.

The extent to which people can be rude never ceases to astonish me. :-/

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Date: 2009-05-01 04:53 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] dangerpudding.livejournal.com
I'm not panicking, but I have made double sure the house was stocked (it being my house, we could stay in for weeks if not months) . I'm also avoiding some amount of social and out-of-the-house stuff, but I'm immuno-compromised at the moment, so.... seems reasonable?

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Date: 2009-05-01 04:28 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] cjsmith.livejournal.com
Yeah, I personally haven't seen anyone being unreasonable. (I too could stay in the house for a while, and yeah, Rob and I reorganized and spiffed up the OTC-medicine stash recently.)

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Date: 2009-05-01 05:04 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] eichin.livejournal.com
I've seen a lot of it via "social media" - but that's mostly because I'm on twitter ("office water cooler gossip... 2.0") and recently started following (for semi-work-related reasons) twitter.com/BreakingNews, which has had pretty much every detection and death announcement (plus some fact-checking on Reuters' releases.) It's been quite the event as far as geographically interesting news goes...

As for panic (or at least "possible overreaction") - Egypt apparently culled most/all of their pig population, followed by the UN saying "um, WTF?"... some countries and cruise lines have curtailed traffic to Mexico; some places have shut down schools... and the President got on the air to tell people to wash their hands and cover their mouths when they cough, earning him the title "kindergarten-teacher-in-chief" :-)

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Date: 2009-05-01 12:38 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] billeyler.livejournal.com
Nope, no panic here. I actually expected to see most of the people at the airports wearing the (fairly ineffectual) face masks that "everyone" in Mexico seems to be wearing now, but not a single one did I spy. It's business as usual.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-05-01 05:54 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] recordersmith.livejournal.com
Panicking? No.
Concerned? yes.

What interests me about this one is the note that several of the severe epidemics in flu history occurred in the fall, and were preceeded by a mild outbreak in the spring. I honestly haven't paid a great deal of attention to flu epidemiology in the past, and I plan on doing some reading about that in the next few days.

And I have to say that while it would be extremely unpleasant to experience, the term "cytokine storm" is neat.