Sunday, October 04, 2009

Swine Flu: Obama Administration "Urges Calm" while "Embracing for a Pandemic"

This little guy has the right idea--he'd rather embrace the pig.

Yes, I know, they really, really want us to call it Influenza A, H1N1 Virus, since calling it "swine flu" is hurting the pork industry. My sympathies to the pork industry--honestly, I'm not just being a smart-ass. But here's my take on this influenza pandemic business: it's nothing more than big government hype. Obama loves a distraction. Things aren't going too well for him lately. We've all heard that Rahm Emanuel encourages the Obama Administration to "never let a crisis go to waste."

"We are proceeding as if we are preparatory to a full pandemic," Janet Napolitano said. Wait--isn't she the Homeland Security Secretary? Evidently we're hearing from Napolitano because the Surgeon General, Dr. Regina Benjamin, hasn't been sworn in yet. Well, if the H1N1 virus is such an emergency, if it's so critical--"proceeding . . . to a full pandemic," as the Homeland Security Chief says, then what's the holdup on the Surgeon General?

Here's a report from the Huffington Post (source warning!), although they don't say where they get their information: There have been over 550 deaths in the United States from H1N1 and a scientific advisory panel recently sent the White House a report saying it was possible that anywhere from 30 percent to half the population could catch what doctors call "2009 H1N1" and that it was also possible there could be between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths. Here's what I say to that: Nuts!

"The flu" has always been with us. I was an R.N. for 20 years, and I was "encouraged" every year to get a flu shot, but I never did. I think maybe I had "the flu" a couple of times in those 20 years. I don't know. Maybe I'm a cynic, but all of this seems like a big-time overkill overreaction to me. There was a recent report about health care workers in Albany, New York who rallied to protest forced vaccinations. I would have been right there with them.

I recently saw a local news report about tents being set up in the parking lot at the local children's hospital that will be used to treat the influx of children with the flu that they are expecting. Students at a local university have been told that "one-third to one-half" of students are expected to come down with the flu. [So let me guess: "three-fourths" of students won't show up for class?]

Color me skeptical. I'm just not buying it. Of course "it's possible" that there will be between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths, but how many people remember hearing the "death toll" from influenza in ANY YEAR besides this one? Flu is being reported in 2009 as if no one has ever had flu before and as if no deaths have ever occurred, which is patently ridiculous. To take a random year, for example, in 2006, according to the CDC, the U.S. had 56,000 deaths from the flu (which, as we see, is somewhere between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths. OK). Do you remember hysteria then? Do you remember "forced" vaccinations? Do you remember local news stories about tents set up in parking lots to take care of the flu influx? Do you remember a Big Media influenza death toll?

I dunno. Maybe things this year really are different. I'm willing to keep a skeptical open mind about it all, if there is such a thing. More later, if and when it's warranted.

Here's what I'm going to use instead of a flu shot. This is just me--everyone needs to get educated and make up their own minds.

I plan to keep some in my pocket or purse and use it often. I'll also be avoiding public-intensive areas or items like library desks or computers. If I had a student at school, I would encourage frequent use of the hand sanitizer. At the grocery store I might even wipe down the handle on the cart if this flu bug really gets going. I am not a germ-compulsive person, and I plan to use common sense. I'll keep Kleenex in my pocket and use it. Frankly, I think Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius's advice to a reporter to sneeze on his arm instead of his hand is somewhat gross. Sneeze in your hand and then use Purell. The germs on your sleeve you can't do anything about until you change your clothes at the end of the day. How about using Kleenex, Kathleen--didn't your mother teach you that? But she does get the Purell right. The White House and Rahm "Ballerina" Emanuel can work themselves up into a snit about the flu and "embrace" for their pandemic if they want to; I won't be joining them.

Believe it--this is a good crisis that Rahm-bo doesn't intend to waste.

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