Saturday, May 2, 2009

Facts Anyone?

The first thing I note this morning is a story about Swine Flu, of course, and the CNN headlines boldly proclaim, "Number of H1N1 Cases Worldwide Soars". But when you read the story, you find that isn't really the case at all. "The jump in cases was due to ongoing testing of a backlog of specimens in Mexico, the WHO said." And this,
"What the increase reflects is that we are moving forward in confirming many of the cases that have been left untested for some time, so in an way that's reassuring,"

Reassuring? But that's not what we see in the headlines and how many people read the whole story when it's so much easier to simply read headlines and consider themselves well informed? This is a time when the news media should be acting responsibly, but old habits die hard and so you have to dig a little to find out the facts…on your own.

Facts about the flu virus are not hard to find these days, so it would be wise to spend some time doing basic research about the virus and its history. It only takes a few seconds on Google to find that influenza viruses are like all viruses, they mutate so that they can survive. They are living things and survival is their number one priority. And over the years it's been found that every 30 to 50 years this will happen. It's an unfortunate part of being human. It has nothing to do with the ethnicity of the victims, though the right wing xenophobes of this world would have you believe that. The disastrous influenza of the early 1900's was called the Spanish Flu, killing more soldiers during World War I than bullets did. In earlier times, the so-called culprits were whatever group was disliked the most. So we had Irish flu and Chinese flu. Humans just love to blame someone, anyone, and why would you blame people you like?

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