Saturday, August 01, 2009

Voyage of the Darned (by Xan)

Midsummer is a time when we should be doing happy jolly recreational things (provided we have jobs to vacation from, and jobs that have vacation as a benefit, and that pay enough to enable one to, well, vacate for a bit.) Like maybe taking a nice ocean cruise! Yeah, that sounds like it should be nothing but fun....

MARSEILLES, France, Aug 1 (Reuters) - The majority of passengers on a cruise ship carrying dozens of possible flu victims were allowed to disembark on Saturday after health tests, the local government's office said.
But 146 people -- both passengers and crew members, some of whom showed signs of flu -- remain in quarantine, a spokesman for the local government department said.
There is some dispute whether this is swine/H1N1 flu, "regular" flu, or just something flu-ish. Norovirus is of course notorious for plaguing cruise ships, and there are other pestilences like Legionnaires that can sweep through groups confined in close quarters.

But this provides an opportunity, during the summer lull, to kick the whole H1N1 subject around again. Is this going to be like the last "swine flu" outbreak in 1976, where much bub is hubbed, vaccine is rushed out, a few people have bad reactions, and the health authorities are mocked for exaggerating the threat? Or...not?

The spectre of "Spanish flu" hangs over the question. The scary part is how easily a thought wiggles out of the dark part of the mind that so many problems would be greatly eased by a massive reduction in population. Disease did not get star billing with the Four Horsemen by being wimpy or retiring. Sadly though, the part of the population whose departure would most ease things for the rest of us are the least likely to be carried away. Those undisclosed locations make peachy refuges to wait for the rabble to work things out and then resume their service to their betters.

So consider survival as the Best Revenge. What's your plan for Fall Flu Boogaloo? Gonna get yer shots? If so which one(s)? Regular flu, H1N1 flu, the separate and much longer lasting pneumonia vaccine? How about your kids, spouse, housemates? Are you Prepared, in terms of enough of a stockpile of essentials to wait out a quarantine of a few days or weeks? Made any other plans? Decided it's a load of hooey and ignoring it?

The comment box awaits.