The global panic reaction to the swine flu spreading in Mexico is unwarranted. People should not over-react. I did over-react myself as I myself did rush to buy some surgical masks for me and my family, just in case I will need them and they run out. But rationality took over me over the weekend and I now believe this will be a non-event. Let me explain:
- It is NOT flu season. It's late spring and early summer in the Northern hemisphere. There are good reasons that flu does not spread during the summer time. Of course, the southern hemisphere may need to worry about this swine flu outbreak a bit more than we do. But so far no case is discovered in the southern hemisphere.
- If this swine flu is a bad one, it's already too late to contain and it should already spread widely globally. But so far the spread is very limited. Even in Mexico, most of the cases are confined in Mexico City. There are so far only 1600 cases out of a population of 20 million. The US so far has only 20 cases, all very mild. Again now is simply not the flu season.
- Death rate seems to be high in Mexico city, 80+ deaths out of 1600 cases. But it could be due to the fact that now is not flu season and it is not easy for the flu to spread. The individuals catching the flu must be in poor health conditions to start with. So it is not surprising that those weak enough to catch the flu in a non-flu season could also die easily.
Let's all use some good sanitary practices: avoid shaking hands; wash hands frequently; stay at home if you are sick, etc. But let's do not panic un-necessarily. Remember that flu kills due the the over-reaction of one's immune system.
Full Disclosure: The author has neither a long position nor a short position in the swine flu.