Thursday, April 30, 2009


As with any major news event, it's easy to get burned out by the constant coverage, analysis, and "breaking news." We're only a few days into Swine Flu '09 and I'm already avoiding stories about it. I did check this morning to see the latest numbers, but until they have a more definitive answer as to what's going on, I don't need to spend all day scouring the internet. I did that Monday.

There are a couple conversations going on about it over at Absolute Write, and the majority of the attitudes seem to be hesitant caution, if that makes sense. No one seems to be panicking, but they are being smart. There are a few people who laugh at everyone for freaking out, joking that we're all going to die, etc., and then there are those who insist on tying this flu outbreak to illegal immigration.

Excuse me?

The comment that made my insides cringe was in response to someone announcing the first US death yesterday. He asked if the kid was there illegally, then nonchalantly said "Or are we still not allowed to care about our borders?"

I've also heard speculation that this is a plot against the US. People, not everything is about you! (General you, not you there on your sofa.) I found an article on the Chicago Tribune yesterday that mirrors my thoughts. Teresa Puente, who teaches journalism at Columbia College Chicago and is the editor and publisher of Latina Voices, says this:

But we have to debunk the hate. First of all, there’s no evidence illegal immigrants are bringing the swine flu into the United States and other countries. It appears it may be carried by American and European tourists who have visited Mexico.

But the hysteria over the swine flu has to stop. Let’s just put it in perspective with some simple facts.

There have been 159 deaths in Mexico. Only seven have been confirmed as swine flu and the rest are suspected, according to the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control. But the population in Mexico is over 100 million.

I don’t think that’s cause enough for us to close the borders or boycott Mexico.

If it makes you feel better, go ahead and wash your hands more often and use hand sanitizer. But I don’t think we all need to start wearing masks or pulling the kids out of school.

Let’s not bash Mexico or view Mexicans or brown people in the United States with suspicion.

The article is really worth reading, in my opinion. I just can't believe that it's come to this. [insert disgusted look on my face behind the mask]

Do you have any cases near you? Have you taken any precautions? And to the anonymous poster from a couple days ago, I don't believe this counts as hysteria, I'm just reporting what's going on. If you care to leave your name next time we can have a conversation -- I don't reply to anonymous commenters.

PS -- On a lighter note, happy anniversary to my parents!


Pink Ink said...

Melanie, you live in a very interesting place!! Definitely won't run out of things to say on your blog. :-)

I'm sure media magnifies the problem much more, or are you sensing the panic the stories are conveying??

Janna Qualman said...

You had to throw the picture out there again, didn't you? :P

We have our first confirmed case in our state, about an hour away from where I live. But *shrugs* whatever. I'm not gonna sweat it.

EMC07 said...

Nice blog post. Yes we have a couple I think confirmed in Michigan. I'm not too worried either as I am already an OCD hand washer germafobe.

I'll echo Pink Ink, you do live in an interesting place. The media makes everything worse for sure. God knows why I chose it as my major in college??

Yesterday on the news there was an exciting story in the mask facotory showing how they were made. Really?? That's news?

Stay Safe Melanie, don't let the man getcha down.

WendyCinNYC said...

Oh yeah, we have several cases here in NYC.

I'm really not freaking out. I think if the media followed any disease, people would start worrying about it. What if we had graphs and maps for each seasonal flu outbreak? It would be terrifying.

Melanie Avila said...

Pink, I've stopped worrying when things get boring because there is ALWAYS something just around the corner.

I put my memoir aside over a year ago and plan to revisit it once we leave Mexico -- the things that have happened since then will definitely make it more interesting!

Melanie Avila said...

Janna, I forget not everyone is on Facebook and/or AW, so yes, I had to share. :P

I think that's the right attitude. So far we don't have any cases in our region.

Melanie Avila said...

EMC, I'm the same way -- always washing -- so I'm sure I'll be fine.

The mask industry must be making a killing!

Melanie Avila said...

Wendy, that's an excellent point. They are talking a lot about how many people the regular flu kills each year, but it'd be interesting to see a comparison with other illnesses. Or drunk driving. If you consider that, everyone should stop driving.

spyscribbler said...

Well put!

I'm a little nervous, after sitting across from that one girl, LOL. I slept really hard last night, and Glenn and I were just like, okay... Two more days and we can call it safe. LOL. I know it's silly of me, LOL.

Melanie Avila said...

Spy, I don't think it's silly, but I do think it's smart to take precautions. Load up on Vitamin C and fruits and veggies and stay well-rested.


Turkey Lurkey said...

IMO the media magnifies situations. I feel awful for those who have died from the swine flu, and of course the families they left behind. However, I know that many people die from the flu in general. (Usually by dehydration) and although this is a different strain, taking the general precautions like hand washing will decrease our chances of becoming ill. There are over 8 million people in Mexico City. By that measure, the death count due to swine flu is minuscule and the world as a whole is doing their best to keep the disease contained.

One relative asked me if I might have swine flu when they heard about my head cold. I told them that I had a better chance of winning the lottery.

As for those who wish to make this a political agenda... I think they are scratching the bottom of the barrel. Srsly.

Melanie Avila said...

Turkey, very well said. Yes, this is scary because they don't have a cure, but the percentage of people actually affected is SO LOW... people shouldn't be panicking.

I'm actually glad I'm not in the US right now because I can only imagine how much the media is blowing this out of proportion. I've read a few things about how bad it is and how they're just stirring up panic. At least here I only hear/read what I seek out.

And yes, bottom of the barrel. Fo sho.

Lauren said...

That's so stupid that people blame it on illegal immigrants. I assumed it was people visiting Mexico or going back and forth legally. For heaven's many more people legally go across the border than illegally?! Obviously many more. Wouldn't it make sense that the larger population brought it over? Ug...people...

*stepping off soap box*

Congrats to your parents :)

Kay said...

We are all fine having just returned from Mexico a week ago. While we were there I did not notice anybody who looked as if they were suffering from any flu symptoms --- Mel-- Is memory loss one of the symptoms?? (wink,wink --haha!!)

Nadine said...

I have to say, your life is never boring!

Happy Anniversary to your parents!

Melanie Avila said...

Lauren, I hear you...

Melanie Avila said...

Kay, did Erin tell you I emailed her to make sure all of you were healthy? Scary stuff!

Our neighbor's little girl seems to have a cough, so I'm hoping nothing comes of it. Especially because she hangs out on the stairs right outside my front door (which is always open).

Melanie Avila said...

Nadine, I want boring!!

Robin said...

It really burns me that they're blaming the "illegal immigrants". That's just hate mongering, pure and simple. If they don't stop, they're going to be in BIG FAT TROUBLE.

Robin said...

By the way, maybe you should become a surgeon. That mask becomes you.

Benjamin Solah said...

Wow, blaming immigrants is really off IMO. They obviously don't care if Mexicans die, just so long as they don't spread it to white people.

Another point about the hysteria is that there are worst pandemics going on in Africa but they die in their millions every day because they can't afford drugs. No one seems to care if black people are dying. It's only a problem when it's a danger to whites.

But there's no confirmed cases in Australia. We're virtually untouched.

Melanie Avila said...

Robin, I'm going to have to make you a t-shirt that says BFT. :P

And thanks, a lot of people have remarked how well it goes with my eyes.

Melanie Avila said...

Ben, another excellent point. I believe we need to take precautions, but it sickens me how entitled some Americans can act. Nevermind the thousands dying -- like you said -- in Africa, it's not until it might affect them that they give a shit.

Now, I realize we become desensitized to traumatic events, especially when they aren't in our backyard, but this needs to stay in perspective.

Rooster said...

You should see Suzy Gehaw on WOOD TV... swine flu has her scared out of her pants. Some reporter on said channel actually showed a photo of someone who was at the hospital with the "bathroom nasties" and chest congestion and this person was "worried" they had the swine flu... talk about bottom of the barrel.

Some people are looking for anything bad to blame illegal immigrants for. It's the most obvious form of discrimination in the US right now - yet no one really speaks out about it. Very sad and creates this cycle of bigotry that abounds here. Talk about Nasty.

I hope you guys get good immigration news SOON!!!! Have you ever visited Lots of great resources!

Melanie Avila said...

Thanks Emily, I haven't heard of that site.

That's ridiculous that they're showing that on the news. They really need to calm down. And for some reason, that doesn't surprise me that she's reacting that way.

Dr. Saleeby's Blog said...

Found you site off of Jon Vs. Sort of laughed inside when I read you blog title... just finished a piece on the Swine Flu. Link: