Well, the much anticipated Pandemic (it gets capitalized simply because we've been talking about it so much) seems to be on the horizon. This morning at about 5:30am a coworker held up the New York Times. If you haven't seen it, the NYT has, as its classic front page photo, a picture of several Mexican citizens wearing the now archetypal SARS masks, huddled under umbrellas on a park bench. The corresponding article mentioned that the Mexican government discovered late Thursday evening that the influenza-like disease that had been flooding their hospitals was a new kind of flu which mixes two strains of avian flu (Well hello, bird flu! Welcome back!), swine flu, and two different strains of human flu (they really did call it human flu in at least one of the articles I've read today). It has infected anywhere from 1,000 to 80,000 people in somewhere close to 15 Mexican states (Reliable information is hard to find, and every article says something different), and resulted in close to 70 deaths in the last day and a half. Studying the virus they have decided that it has mutated past its animal to animal stage, (hence the appearance of human flu components) as well as past the animal to human stage, (which is where bird flu stopped), and is now in the human to human stage. They are calling it the H1N1 flu virus (this is, consequently, the same strain as the Spanish Flu which killed anywhere from 20 - 100 million in 18 months from 1918-1919). As of yesterday 8 cases were reported in the United States. Six in San Diego, CA and two in San Antonio, TX (It's Texas! Also, it seems to be targeting Spanish named American cities. Could this virus have an agenda?). This morning a school in Queens, NY reported 75 students ill with flu-like symptoms. Within an hour it was 150. Some of the students had just returned from a trip to Mexico. So far no Americans have died. According to the WHO this virus has "Pandemic potential" and most airports are considering putting all travelers from Mexico in quarantine. This particular strain of flu is dissimilar from your regular old, run of the mill flu in many ways, one of which is that not one of the fatalities thus far has been over 60 or under 3. This is similar to the Spanish Flu and they suspect that the Cytokine Storms which have been blamed for the extreme number of fatalities in that case are present in this one as well. Click on it to learn more.
Here is my proposed pandemic relief plan. Stock up on water, rice, beans, and dried fruits and veggies. A lot of water. At least a couple of months worth. Get out of the city to some place where fruits and vegetables are grown. Stay there. Grow fruits and vegetables. Wash your hands often. Avoid crowds. Don't go to Mexico.
However, it probably won't come to that. And even if it does, if it is your time to go you probably will. So, with that in mind, be loving. Care for the orphaned. Feed the hungry. Give shelter and comfort.
In case you were interested (and I am. Avidly.) here is a list of pandemics throughout history.
Also, I've become a really big fan of Micachu lately. Strange, British music. Likes.