Swine-flu panic reached new heights yesterday after the tabloids played up the death of a Queens principal and a baby (the latter who, it turns out, was not killed by H1N1 after all): Across the city, a total of 23 public and private high schools shut down, and the schools that remained open reported dramatic drops in attendance. Meanwhile, thousands of people flooded to emergency rooms in panic, causing the wait for care to stretch even longer than usual — a Queens hospital set up a tent outside to handle the overflow of patients who feared they might be infected. Twelve-year-old Edgar Villalba, who waited nine hours with his mother for his 10-month-old sister to be seen at Elmhurst hospital in Queens, described a grim scene to the Daily News:
"You just see people coughing, sneezing, wearing masks," he said.
But for those who are cushioned against such miserable experiences by a healthy amount of money, the swine-flu panic has been something of a boon.
As one Horace Mann student told the Post:
"We're happy! Now I can play some golf!"
God, we love it when people live up to their stereotypes.