I woke up today with stiff joints and major body aches, and I bet it's not because I went to the gym yesterday for only the second time this whole semester. I probably have the flu. And not just any flu. Swine flu. And I've also been slightly nauseous and my throat's been a bit sore. It's probably not from drainage due to allergies. It's probably swine flu.
The WHO vamped up the alert level to five, "meaning that it believes a global outbreak of the disease is imminent" (MSNBC). And, "'all countries should immediately now activate their pandemic preparedness plans,' [WHO Director General Margaret] Chan told reporters in Geneva. 'It really is all of humanity that is under threat in a pandemic.'" In a press conference, Chan said that "'it is important to take this very seriously' . . . but for the average person, the term 'pandemic' doesn't mean they're suddenly at greater risk.'"
Just how seriously have people been taking this swine flu? "Britain closed a school after a 12-year-old girl was found to have the disease. Egypt slaughtered all its pigs and the central African nation of Gabon became the latest nation to ban pork imports. . . . Cuba [is blocking] flights coming in from Mexico. And Asian nations greeted returning airport travelers with teams of medical workers and carts of disinfectants."
On a more personal level, this afternoon my college's dean sent an e-mail regarding precautionary measures and what not, and there's information about hand washing at each table in the caf. And to think that my friends and I have been joking about this all along. I do understand the need to be concerned since so many are dying and the disease has spread, but no one seems to mention the fact that many of the people who have been diagnosed are getting better. It's not as though thousands of people die from the flu every year, after all.
(By the way, I don't have swine flu.)