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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    STILL PUBLIC ENEMY #1


    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:

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    SWINE ON MY MIND 5: Subway Roulette

    I took a ride on the Mexico City subway. Got on in Doctores . Beat by R. Diggs.

    Sad news on the swine front. It’s still spreading. To New Jersey! That’s my homestate, man.
    See, now it’s personal. I only hope this virus gets wiped out and doesn’t mutate again.

    On the financial front, Big Pharma GlaxoSmithKline: UP, and the mega-non-kosher Smithfield Foods:DOWN.
    According to this Netflix is where to put your money.

    Concerns are still heavy since the CDC upgraded the flu meter to a Level 4 calamity.

    And its continuing to have financial repercussions as experts are saying “swine flu will…deepen the global recession.”

    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
    biomaska03_4 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.

    Pesta PorcinaMantanca del Porc

    Check out:

  • TJ’s Ceci Bastida on the track “Controlar” [Thanks, Josh]
  • The MymyMexico blog
  • Also, it wouldn’t be epidemic season without a few more musical reminders (followed by Mexico City street and subway shots): After the jump

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    SWINE ON MY MIND 4: Calm before the storm? **UPDATES

    THIRSTY?: A couple shares a fruit juice at the Sunday market in Colonia Del Valle in Mexico City. The Mexican government ordered bars and clubs closed for the next 10 days.
    THIRSTY?: A couple shares a fruit juice at the Sunday market in Colonia Del Valle in Mexico City. The Mexican government ordered bars and clubs closed for the next 10 days.

    Worldwide financial markets are already starting to take a beating in this, the first official week following the swine flu crisis here in Mexico City.
    Alas, the drug companie$ have little to worry about. Ka-ching.
    Besides all the bars and clubs and sporting events shuttering over the weekend, one of the major letdowns was the cancellation of 60 lucha libre matches.
    I really hope this virus gets under control for next week’s 3rd annual wrestling convention, called Lucha Libre: La Experiencia, which is a mix of informative panel discussions on wrestling as well as music and entertainment. It’s scheduled to run May 1-3 at Centro Banamex here in D.F.
    On another note, this mask wearing is getting out of hand. Most people, I mean, like more than half walking around on the street don’t wear them. If things get worse, health-wise, then wearing a mask is going to have to be an ordinary fashion accessory for a while.

    With total deaths at 103 so far 149, as long at the numbers don’t shoot up exponentially, we should be alright. Then again, it might just be the calm before the storm, and then, you know. Be safe. Wash your hands.

    UPDATE:

  • Seriously feeling an EARTHQUAKE right now in Colonia Roma @ 11:49 central time [ CNN Just confirmed, it hit at 11:45am]. US geological survey is calling it a 6.0 quake, check it details, here.
  • CDC says don’t go to Mexico if you don’t have to
  • Mexico health minister says 149 confirmed dead due to flu-like symptoms 20 22 of those deaths confirmed due to swine flu, the city currently has 2,372 cases of people with flu-like symptoms [all numbers from the Milenio news channel]
  • New York City confirms 20 more cases
  • Wow. I guess it really could be…….

    R.E.M-End of the World as We know it (and I feel fine)

    Check out some more pathogen-related music:

    Pharell co-signed Washington Heights rapper's newest mixtape.
    Pharell co-signed Washington Heights rapper's newest mixtape.

    Listen to The Plague.

    More after the jump.

    Continue reading “SWINE ON MY MIND 4: Calm before the storm? **UPDATES”

    SWINE ON MY MIND 3: A/H1N1 Attacks

    READY FOR FLU BATTLE: This is the typical swine flu survival pack. A bottle of Walgreens hand sanitizer and a face covering known in Mexico as a cubreboca.
    READY FOR FLU BATTLE: This is the typical swine flu survival pack. A bottle of Walgreens hand sanitizer and a face covering known in Mexico as a cubreboca.

    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.
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    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:

    The latest reported cases shine a light on a Kansas couple and a group of New Zealand students. It makes the worry much bigger. A husband returning home from a business trip in Mexico just a few days ago, brought it back home to his wife. Members of a class returning to New Zealand after a language excursion to Mexico are said to have contracted the virus.
    You can only image how the spring breakers are feeling now.

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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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