Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Slight feelings of guilt

Was I unnecessarily harsh in yesterday's blog? I dunno. But I keep toying with the idea of deleting yesterday's post, which means my sub-conscious is having some sort of regrets about my obvious dismissal of what is supposedly a "health crisis."

Here's the thing-- okay, so you can DIE from the swine flu. And 26 people in Argentina already have. But of the couple thousand total infections, the fatality rate is only around 3%, hardly what I would call an "emergency."

I will now contradict myself several times as I attempt to explain my opinion. Enjoy the train wreck.

Argentina's health care and general infrastructure, especially in the provincias outside the capital, are not so good, especially compared to the services you can get back in the US. I sometimes forget that I'm a privileged American, and that my opinions, however much I hate to admit it, probably stem from that. So a flu that I consider easily curable and no big deal, perhaps for the poor people living out the the sticks of Argentina is not such a small thing. My deepest regrets for talking smack.

HOWEVER, my opinion is that there are 2 ways to deal with this. You either 1) decide that this is not a big issue, do nothing, and not worry too much unless the problem worsens, or 2) you decide that this is a big issue, and you take immediate, hardcore action, and stop the thing before it really even starts. Duh.

Mexico City opted for option #2, and more power to them! It seems to have worked. People there had one long week of inconvenience, boredom, and lack of street tacos, and then they went back to living their lives. For a short time you couldn't go to a restaurant, club, movie theater, school, nothing, but at least the problem was dealt with.

Argentina, however, is taking what I would consider to be half-assed action, something hovering dangerously between options #1 and #2. They are closing schools for the month of July (tacking on an additional 2 weeks to their already-planned 2 week winter break), but not closing anything else. Wait, how does this help? So basically we can still go get swine flu on the street, at the nightclub, at the theater, at a restaurant, wherever, and only the schools will close down. Meanwhile, all those kids who now have a month off of school will be hitting the streets and clubs (teenagers can do that here-- wish I'd grown up that way!), spreading their swine flu all over town. Dirty kids!

I just don't think this makes any sense. One month of half-assed action that probably won't accomplish anything, versus, say, one week of hardcore action that could potentially make a big difference. Or, nothing. That's my vote.

PS. Don't forget to wash your hands!