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SWINE FLU JUMPS THE SHARK

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Chilangos will be happy when they can go back to their favorite cafe and plug in their laptops or sit around babbling about Freud and smoking a pipe on a Roma streetside. Everyone would agree, swine flu and any of its derivative paranoia has jumped the shark.

  • There’s nothing like waking up to the nightmare that you can’t even kick back in you favorite cafe. Losses are mounting, but for some reason, things won’t be back to business as usual until May 6, or later.
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  • I’m not sure if cubrebocas will ever be officially trendy. But surgical masks as fashion seemed to be the most boring story of the outbreak.
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  • Cinco de Mayo celebrations (what’s it all about, really?) should be in full swing in most parts of North America. Some folks might be celebrating during the plane ride from China.
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    SWINE ON MY MIND 2: Aporkalypse Now

    PROTECT YA NECK: A family on Cuauhtémoc Avenue in Mexico City. While the government issued health warnings urging people to stay inside or wear face-masks when venturing outside, you can see some choosed to ignore it.

    PROTECT YA NECK: A family on Cuauhtémoc Avenue in Mexico City. While the government issued health warnings urging people to stay inside or wear face-masks when venturing outside, you can see some chose to ignore it.

    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:

  • 1,324 cases in Mexico City (and its spreading back home, you can see the U.S. count here.)
  • 81 deaths, 20 confirmed due to swine flu
  • 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.

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    Wish me luck. Some photos after the jump.

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    SWINE ON MY MIND

    COVER YOUR MOUTH:   A couple walks down a block in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City.  There was high demand for surgical masks in the wake of a a deadly strain of swine flu that's infected over 1,000 people.

    COVER YOUR MOUTH: A couple walks down a block in the Roma neighborhood of Mexico City. There was high demand for surgical masks in the wake of a a deadly strain of swine flu that's infected over 1,000 people.

    The swine flu has many people shook out here in the city of 20-million. Some are expecting an end-of-the-world scenario in Mexico City. The CDC is keeping an extra close eye on the situation, just in case reality starts to resemble a weak made-for-cable movie.

    But honestly, the air quality is often so bad, people rock the blue surgery masks anyway.

    I’d imagine more people around the country are paying closer attention, now that some kids in Queens came down with what looks like the swine flu. I mean, I wasn’t really tripping until I read this in the Daily Kos. Scary stuff. You know some drug companies are going to get fat off this wave of panic and sickness.

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