Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, May 3, 2009

1918? I Don't Think So

Over reacting?

I am not quite sure, but it sure seems that way.

I am writing this as a private person, not as a health care professional, so please don't email me telling me I should know better, or saying that as a health person I should speak only the party line.

I am just responding to what I see, read, and watch on TV.

The H1N1 Influenza, otherwise known as the "Swine Flu", seems to be getting more than its share of news coverage. With approximately 160 cases in the US, and one death within our borders of a 23 month old Mexican national that came to Texas for treatment, we seem to be spending a whole lot of time and money on something that is far from being a pandemic at this time. Potentially serious? Yes, but at the moment it doesn't look quite that way

I've watched the news for the past two weeks, more than enough time for the incubation period of the virus to take off and give us greater numbers, but that hasn't happened. Not to say that later in the year it won't happen during traditional flu season, but right now, in the first week of May, there are no real signs of a pandemic.

Is the virus a bad virus? Well, it seems that the virus south of the Rio Grande has taken over 150 lives, compared to the one life to the north. I don't know why the virus would be more virulent in Mexico than here, but the numbers indicate that that is true.

Same virus, different countries, different outcomes. Something just isn't right. If the CDC is getting yantzy, then they know something they have yet to share with us because the numbers just don't support the alarm the networks are spreading.

The annual flu kills 36,000 Americans every year. Now, that is a number worth remembering, but other than reminders on the tube to get our flu shots, and small segments on the Today Show about using Purell, and other hand washing techniques, we are pretty silent about it all.

The Annual Flu does not seem to rate the daily tallies of the number of sick. No listing of the number that have succumbed. Nothing more than reports of low amounts of flu vaccine available, or what strains are involved in this years mix.

The reporting of the Swine Flu has exceeded the reporting of the "Annual 36,000 Dead Flu" by a long shot, and I have been wondering why.

Well, what has the news been focused on for the last eight months? Every day at noon, 6:00 PM, and at 11:00 at night the lead story has been_______?

Right. The economy.

Enough about the economy. Give us something else to report on other than money, Iraq, Afghanistan. Give us wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes, serial killers, or maybe a killer virus.

Yeah, a virus would be nice. Involves people, and animals, government, and medicine, and a virus that is targeting more of the age group in our target audience would be really nice. Maybe, the teens to thirties age group.


Believe me when I say I am not being cynical. I am only writing what I see, and after a few weeks of "seeing", it is time to speak up.

Now, as I said, because not much is happening right now doesn't mean that come flu season it won't go completely ballistic and raise havoc. It very well could after lying low for a few months. By that time a vaccine will be developed, and hopefully there will be only few severe cases reported, and we get a handle on it.

New viruses always are a cause for concern. We have no immunity to them, so for those that have low immune systems, the very young, the elderly, the infirm the flu is something to avoid.

So what do we make of all this hubbub about this virus. Not really sure, but listen to the numbers reported by the CDC, and watch for spikes in those numbers, and more fatalities. Also, if you are ill, or someone in your family is ill, keep them home !! No school, no work. Close them in their rooms if you have to, and no visitors. Quarantine them. Push fluids on them, make sure they get lots of rest, but do not allow whatever they have to spread. This is true of any virus, but more so now.

Stock up on antiseptic hand washing liquid, Kleenex, Gatorade, juice, and whatever you usually take to get rid of your aches and pains, and use them as you need to. And, don't expose yourself to large crowds, either. No sense in tempting fate.

I may be completely off base on this, but I don't believe I am. Use your heads, pay attention to the CDC, and stock up on the Lysol, and Purell.

Let's hope that this is only network news over reaction, and also hope they find something brighter to report on every evening.

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