Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flu Panic

The University I am currently attending has announced an aggressive policy aimed at combatting the spread of swine flu. This policy has included altering aspects of freshman orientation to limit the spread of the disease, and placing students who live in dormatories in isolation if they are suspected of having the disease. Essentially, they are treating this as the second coming of the Black Death.

My Gut Reaction: If anyone from Student Health Services attempts to place me in isolation, I will respond with the magic word: lawsuit.

Analysis: Frankly, I believe this to be a complete overreaction generated by media scare tactics. As the CDC admits, most of the infections in the United States have been relatively mild, with only four hundred some dying in a nation of three hundred million people, in which a million had already been infected as of this June. Worldwide, the death toll is estimated to be a little less than 3,000.

Not only is the University's, and the media at large's, response alarmist, but it makes it less likely in the future that people will take real disease threat seriously. They will be perceived as another case of media hysteria.

No comments: