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    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.61)
    The really terrible thing about the swine flu outbreak in Mexico is when it inevitably blows through the Mexicali border, it'll give the hardcore anti-immigrant right-wingers an excuse to mobilize and possibly even form active anti-immigrant militias.
    • CommentAuthorG. Foyle
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.62)
    You mean like the southern hemisphere?


    Wouldn't that be the southern winter then? Seriously, I'm confused.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.63)
    Mexico is in the northern hemisphere.

    I said "northern winter" to indicate that it's the start of winter now in Mexico.
    • CommentAuthorIan_M
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.64)
    Speaking as a northerner - No, it really isn't the start of the northern winter. Not even in Mexico, which is not northern.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.65)
    Okay in the probably futile hope of ending this exercise in pedantry;

    It is currently autumn in the northern hemisphere which includes Mexico. The next three to six months are the peak period for influenza of all kinds and is therefore the worst possibly tiem for the emergence of a new strain as it will have months to spread under ideal conditions.

    Had the outbreak occurred at this time of year in a southern hemisphere country such as Brazil it would be somewhat less worrying.

    Are we clear now?
    • CommentAuthorVerissimus
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.66)
    The timing of the Swine Flu outbreak - at the start of the northern winter - is a worry. It has the entire flu season to spread.


    I think that it is april, which is spring, not autumn...and soon it shall be summer, not winter.

    However april is the cruelest month, so it may turn out that it is autumn after all.
    • CommentAuthorIan_M
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.67)
    I live in the northern hemisphere. IT IS NOT AUTUMN HERE IT IS SPRING THIS IS IMPORTANT BECAUSE I AM SO FUCKING SICK OF WINTER I AM WILLING TO KILL OVER IT.

    But the fact that this strain has already spread to NYC is worrying. That means it's been active for significantly longer than the authorities have been aware of it. My roommate had a similar strain in the '70s, when he was young and in excellent physical condition. It hospitalized him for two weeks.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009 edited
     (5626.68)
    Oh hel.

    I'm in the southern hemisphere and I got totally turned around.

    Then I got snarky about it.

    I'm an idiot.

    Sorry everyone.
    • CommentAuthorIan_M
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2009
     (5626.69)
    Apology totally accepted. I've been an idiot over the internet more than a few times myself.

    Now for God's sake please make the snow go away.
    • CommentAuthorScrymgeour
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.70)
    its sunny even in this beautiful shithole that i call home
    Ian_M I feel for you mate, i really do. Where I grew up summer just meant that the rain got warmer.
    • CommentAuthorMementoMori
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009 edited
     (5626.71)
    More cases of swine flu confirmed in the US. Suspicious cases in Europe and China. It's spreading.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.72)
    We'll probably get a better idea of the mortality rate now that the flu appears to be spreading in the US - many people in Mexico probably never bothered to go to the doctor for what seemed like an ordinary case of the flu.

    There's also this slightly encouraging bit from MM's link:

    So far, there have been no deaths from swine flu in the United States, and only one of the people who tested positive for the disease has been hospitalized, officials said. Even though most of the cases have been mild, officials said they expect reports of more severe infections, and said the government had declared a public health emergency over swine flu.
    •  
      CommentAuthorFinagle
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.73)
    I've just been reading around on my various social networks, and so far I have to say I kind of find the various sarcastic and cynical responses to the current flu outbreak to be pretty ...offensive? ridiculous? Western-centric?Basically, I see a lot of Americans chuckling and saying, "Heh, OK, whatever - SARS didn't get me, and this won't either, la la!"

    The SARS outbreaks in Asia were contained at the cost of a lot of really drastic public-health measures, including basically changing the entire subsistence culture of many poor urban-dwellers by killing every single avian life-form within the reach of the major urban centers. Do we have any Chinese, Hong Kong, Thai or other Asian members who'd like to speak to this in more direct terms and tell your stories? Because I keep seeing references to people wearing surgical masks and urban centers taking precautions as being just hilarious, and I'd love to be able to point to some first-person accounts in response.

    For instance, I keep seeing this image thrown up on various cynics journals, something that represents a trope about ineffectual responses to the Black Plague:


    Nevermind the fact that they are using the image inappropriately - this is an image that represents a culture desperate to escape a really, actually horrible plague, and now it has been turned around to represent media over-blownness.

    Are we just collectively whistling past the graveyard or what?
    • CommentAuthorIan_M
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.74)
    I've seen what you're talking about. When people refuse to take reality seriously they probably have nothing to say that you need to hear. Stop networking with idiots. Put some distance between yourself and the people who think slow death is funny, because those people are typically excellent disease vectors. No one here seems to be panicking, but we're not mocking events either.

    Swine flu in Canada.
  1.  (5626.75)
    @Stygmata:
    Oddly that image is key to the current storyline in Hellblazer, which is about the building of the 2012 Olympic stadium on London's plague pits...
    And yeah - black humour is one thing but the general response of the aforementioned blog-fuckwittery is vile.
    • CommentAuthorE0157H7
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.76)
    I'm more worried about the political ramifications of the flu outbreak. The only thing that provides a better opportunity for seizure of power than a bombing or natural disaster is an epidemic. I hope that the US can quash it and then provide aid to Mexico, thus avoiding the opening that the nationalist right-wingers are no doubt waiting for.
    • CommentAuthoricelandbob
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.77)
    @CatVincent

    Good call. I only just read that yesterday.
    • CommentAuthorIan_M
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.78)
    @ E0157H7:

    The US racist/nationalist right-wing already has militias patrolling the US-Mexican border. And they've also already played the public health and safety card multiple times. This will get a lot of play in the blogs, but won't make much difference in their attitudes or behaviours.

    Regarding your profile picture - In 2000 I wore an outfit like that as my halloween costume and told everyone I was a terrorist. In 2001 I wasn't invited to any halloween parties.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.79)
    "The SARS outbreaks in Asia were contained at the cost of a lot of really drastic public-health measures,"

    The article linked to in 71 describes how every entrant to Hong Kong gets a thermal scan and anyone who shows even a moderate fever gets compulsorily confined for a couple of days of observation.
    • CommentAuthorKosmopolit
    • CommentTimeApr 26th 2009
     (5626.80)
    After the nonsense over the mishandling of H5N1 samples, I'm waiting for the first right-wing nutcases to proclaim this part of Obama's plan to turn America into a "Marxofascist dictatorship".