H1N1 and the like

Every few years, newspapers get lucky with some tragic news which has a national impact, if not international. Be it due to an earthquake, tsunami, act of terrorism or some new disease. Such things give news papers and channels something to fill their otherwise useless spaces and time slots with. It is also a time for idiots to spread rumours.

I remember some 12 odd years back, there was a big scare of plague due to rats. This time around its swine flu. The news ran about with usual guesstimates of people affected, deaths among them, undetected ones, the risk of spreading. One title ran two days back that read "33% Indians to be affected by swine flu in 2 years". Interesting, isn't it? What kind of a research is that? Are we saying we can't control it and hence it will reach that level? Or are we saying that we will control it to that level? Either way, its quite a stupid thing to say, especially when they themselves ran news such as "so many dead", "schools and theatres closed", "does blah blah have facilities to test for H1N1?", etc. They are practically hoping for some kind of a panic situation.

The other set of people benefited from these are companies that make medication or preventive medication/ consumables. Ah, the disposable mask! People don't seem to understand the meaning of disposable there. It means a mask that can be worn for 4 hrs only. Another thing not widely known about masks is that masks are more of a device to protect others from you, not the reverse way! Thats the reason surgeons wear it anyway, in order to not contaminate the insides of the patient! In any case, masks being useless for H1N1 is a fact that was announced at the very outset of this pandemic. Its also clear now that more than these masks helping, they pose a disposal issue and hence are a reason that the flu will multiply and spread instead! Still, these masks are selling in black. I've read reports of these stupid penny masks selling at Rs.400! Who's benefited?

Lets deviate a bit and look at seasonal flu as well. When it started off, it was considered scary too... almost this much. Then it went on and on and now, we have a pop-a-crocin kind of situation. And well, what does Crocin do? It helps you sleep a bit, reduces pain a bit, that way, and the flu passes off on its own, more or less. I haven't known a flu that has gone by without my being in bed for 3 days overall, with or without medication. Same goes for this swine flu, as I got to read yesterday. Its like a longer flu of 7-8 days and even with Tamiflu, its still going to last at 5-6 days. But such news is in no one's interest. Tamiflu or equivalents need to be made for cos. to make a huge sum off this. It almost reminds me everyday of the scene from V for Vendetta and the reason for an epidemic starting in the first place! Anyways...

I'm also disgusted the way totally unrelated companies are having a ball now! These sickos such as Reliance Communications are sending out messages and offers to be kept informed of Swine flu. Two such messages today have ruined it for me so much that I'm going to throw their so-called services away with their sim card soon. One of these offers read Rs.30 per month and the other Rs.3 per sms! To hell with Reliance.

As for number of deaths, its quite low in comparison to malaria, HIV and such. I'm also reminded now of when HIV/ AIDS became a threat so much that a lot of us used to carry a blade at the barbers! It was a precautionary measure and I'm thankful that the razor rates didn't go up due to it. Now all barbers know what safety means. Funnily enough, that safety thing may not be true about the main reason that HIV spreads! :)

To sum up in the end: lets stick to sanity, ignore the rumourmongers, not add to panic, have healthy food, increase immunity, grow and eat tulsi, grow neem if possible, use our clean hankies and scarves instead of masks, contain prices of necessities and... live on.
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