Swine flu is coming. The president’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology posits that around 90,000 people could die from the influenza this season, and many more will be sickened. Already a number of colleges have reported outbreaks, and even beloved cable-news hosts are not immune! The city says they are prepared to handle the pandemic this time around, but please, we've been to zombie movies — everyone knows that when shit goes down, the government always falls apart immediately. The Daily News today tells it like it is:
No one really knows how fast the virus will spread, or how dangerous it will be, so all the contingency plans might not be enough.
"I believe that New York City has done a very good job of planning and preparation, certainly relative to other metropolitan areas and more generally worldwide," said Al Ozonoff, associate professor of biostatistics at Boston University's School of Public Health. "That being said, nobody really knows what to expect coming into this flu season ... We don't know exactly what to prepare for."
Sure, you could say they're fearmongering, but maybe they're just being realists.
How can we protect ourselves?
You can get a flu shot. In fact, it's "your patriotic duty," according to the governor of Maryland. Of course, if you don't have health insurance, are not a child, or Novartis simply runs out, you are basically shit out of luck. Sorry, bud, in this country, patriotism is a one-way street.
A company called FluArmour is selling Swine Flu Kits that include this amazing suit:
Oh, and the good people at MIT have also developed an iPhone app, "Outbreaks Near Me," that will help you avoid areas where the virus is prevalent. Lord knows, though, when that screen starts filling up with little pig-shaped icons, all you can do is barricade yourself into your favorite bar and hope for the best.