There’s at least one person close to me who I hope takes this commercial very seriously. Just because you don’t feel sick, doesn’t mean you’re not infecting others around you. Contain your germs, please.
This entire week-long catastrophe known as the swine flu epidemic brought to my mind proto-political rap group Public Enemy on several occasions. I really don’t know why. Just check some of my previous blog post titles you can see.
Other than the bit of reporting I did for publication, I’ve been indoors mostly. That hasn’t necessarily been my choice either. The fun parts of town have been relatively quiet by order of the local government.
Although there are any number of private soirees tonight, Mexico City is officially on lockdown this weekend. Most major events were cancelled once again, and as I was told by a friend, a talking head on a PBS news show was thanking the people of Mexico for enduring shut-down mode for the sake of all humanity, which again, brought to mind this P.E. gem:
On a fairly warm Mexico afternoon, yesterday, I ventured out to see if things had changed. Taking the subway was something I had been avoiding since the news broke a few days ago.
One of the biggest adjustments for the people of Mexico City has to be not going to church. Last night in the Colonia Guerrero, I stopped by the Templo San Hipolito. There was a quickie mass and a little water splash after the priest read a prayer of the Virgin of Guadalupe for the flu epidemic. He also announced that the church wouldn’t hold the special 28th day services for the San Judas Tadeo . i know a lot of kids are bummed about that.
There is a very mild (as far as I can tell) hysteria coursing through city life here. Although people tend to go about their every day, you can’t help but notice the fewer numbers driving and commuting and eating out. The only time the bit of hysteria comes up is If you hear a nearby sneeze or a cough. Most people look at the culprit in disgust or anger, especially if the sneezer or cougher didn’t cover their mouths in one of the two government approved ways: sneeze into your armpit, or into your a disposable paper towel. You could always wear your mask, but I think a lot of people are still on the fence with that one. Maybe the non-mask wearers are just waiting to cop a technologically advanced face-mask like the one created in Japan: the BioMask Here’s to staying flu free in the D.F. (and by now, the rest of the world, too).
Something tells me Spanish grind metal band Pesta Porcina knew this was coming. If this is your cup, download their 2007 demo, here.
Couldn’t make it to any shows last night. Sorry hiphop. Most everything was shut down due to swine flu scare. It’s being called the worst since Spanish flu in 1918. The N.A.S.A show was finally canceled after 8’oclock, even though promoters sent out an earlier email saying it was still on. They were going to drop the price if partygoers decorated their masks.
Seriously though, who even knows if those things even work. Sure, they keep spit particles from entering your nose and mouth, but according to the Mayo Clinic’s virus disaster prep list, you need an N95 respirator mask to fight bird flu, and I know that costs more than the 3 pesos mask I have on.
Either way, that’s the only protection we have at the moment, other than staying in doors. All public gatherings have been given the government word to stay closed — in the Mexico City region mass is even canceled today.
All of these steps are necessary, as the virus is spreading:
For much good reason, the news cycle has been dominated by this swine flu which is showing the beginnings of a pandemic because it’s spreading from person to person. Wear your face masks, they keep telling people. With all this talk of a possible outbreak, and the safety measure places like church are taking, in the spotlight, all the other bad stuff gets pushed to the side for now, at least in our minds. Pockets of cases are spread throughout the country. Anyone with flu-like symptoms should see a doctor. What are flu-like symptons? Damn near everything.
Hysteria? Not yet. A radio program DJ was telling people not to go into a panic, because we can create ‘symptons’. As for the Mexican people, I imagine like New Yorkers they’re resilient. The streets are pretty calm in this part of the city. A closer look along a mile-and-a-half stretch along Cuauhtémoc Avenue didn’t reveal anything out of the ordinary, maybe heightened awareness with people walking around with blue masks either covering their noses and mouths, or nestled around their necks–fashionable awareness for some, a break to eat a meal or smoke for others.
The masks aren’t comfortable. After walking around a bit (chronicled a bit here) we bought 8 of them at 3 pesos a piece. No shady, upselling by us, like some crooks ( as Reuters reports).
The real fear is if there a need for a mass vaccination. At this point quick treatment for any large fraction of the 20 million people who live in this city just isn’t going to happen.
So far, according to a press conference around 7pm, here are the stats:
Nearly 7 million are off from school until May 6th
People really shouldn’t panic and just wear their masks in public places. On the brighter side, all of this comotion makes for good background. Writer Warren Ellis blogs about the news and files it under “research.”
I’m on my way to a rap show by local rapper Sekreto. Several shows including the N.A.S.A. show were still on.