May 4th, 2009
11:58 AM ET

Swine flu threat doesn't exactly bring people together

Program Note: Tune in tonight to hear more about the reaction to the H1N1 pandemic on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/05/03/swine.flu.react/art.korea.swine.afp.gi.jpg]

Gregory Rodriguez
The Los Angeles Times

When tragedy strikes, people are supposed to band together and find strength in numbers, right? When the well-being of your community is threatened, it's important to look out for your neighbors and lend a hand to those in need, no?

Well, that's what many of us may have thought before all the hysteria about the looming swine flu pandemic.

Last week, as public health officials braced for what they thought was the worst, they were on the verge of prescribing something that may seem counterintuitive to the bleeding hearts among us: If you want to stay alive, stay the heck away from other people.

Maybe I'm too sensitive, but every time I get the sniffles, I invariably wind up feeling insulted by someone telling me not to get too close to them. I mean, I'm feeling lousy and the first thing they tell me is "stay away"? Don't get me wrong. I'm all for self-preservation (and I know, I know - if I'm sick, I should do everyone a favor and go home). But I promise not to sneeze on you, and you could at least feign concern for my well-being. I mean, what if I had swine flu or something?


Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Public Health
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Isabel

    It seems extremely hard for people to cover their mouth & nose when coughing or sneezing...and washing hands often seems another impossible thing to do, yet for some strange reason, they find easier to stay away from people.

    People want to keep a bad hygiene habits at all costs...oh well, I guess Cable Tv & Internet providers will have more clients since everybody seem to like to be in isolation.

    May 4, 2009 at 4:14 pm |
  2. Berkeley Young

    The concern over Swine Flu doesn't translate into personal responsibility or action. I was on a business trip this week and noted few men washed their hands before exiting an airport mens room. I was in restrooms in the following airports: CLT, PHX, SAC, DEN, BIL
    In each of these I was shocked to observe that about 4 in 10 washed hands before exiting. Gross on any day but reckless and careless when facing a flu pandemic that is mostly spread through air travel.
    Why don't airlines have Purell dispensers at every passenger gate the same way cruise ships require before boarding the ship or eating meal.

    May 4, 2009 at 2:42 pm |
  3. patty deborn bray

    If you pull up the Spanish flu of 1918, you would understand that it began the same way this is is beginning. Fall will bring the answer of whether or not, we all die with blood in our lungs. Serious flu, Anderson.

    May 4, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  4. John

    Regarding the episode of Vice President Joe Biden, I think it is more political rather than medical. Some medical experts came out and disputed that the virus would ONLY spread in a very short distance around that person, making our VP seeming immature. Well, you do not expect a passenger to be a piece of cargo. The person can walk around; and passagers share the bathrooms as least.

    May 4, 2009 at 1:44 pm |
  5. Tim Martin

    Have they pinpointed where the flu virus came from? Was it a farm in mexico?

    May 4, 2009 at 1:23 pm |
  6. Isabel

    I liked very much of the article. Interesting point of view. At the time that the person need not have extended a hand to help.

    People are disturbs. In coming weeks I will travel and my husband told me it would be good if I don't sneeze in Panama or the U.S., for I have no problems.
    Wait! Sneezing or my allergy, is it something that I can control?

    May 4, 2009 at 1:16 pm |
  7. Sarah

    I honestly think the swine flu is totally being thrown out of proportion they are now shutting prisons down, can you imagine what the prisoners are thinking they probably are the safest ones right now anyway if you think about it... We as free and unincarcerated get to walk out here free. these men and women incarcerated are like in confinement and honestly I wish the government would just stop any traveling in and out of the country until this flu is under control.......

    May 4, 2009 at 1:06 pm |
  8. thea

    I guess they don't call earmarks "pork" for nothing – has anyone made this correlation . . .

    When the Stimulus Bill ("Recovery Act") came to the floor of Congress, it included appropriations of almost a billion dollars to prepare for a possible flu pandemic. But Karl Rove organized Republicans to demand that this money be taken out of the bill, and when Senator Susan M. Collins of Maine agreed to vote down a filibuster against the bill, one of her demands was that the pandemic appropriation be stripped out. It was.

    May 4, 2009 at 12:47 pm |