Now that Obama has finally declared swine flu a national emergency, we can finally feel safe in our residence halls, apartments and houses. That was close.
Maybe now the other residents in my hall will start washing their hands on a regular basis, using the hand sanitizer dispensers and wearing shoes and a shirt when they go to the lobby.
But probably not.
The saddest part of flu season/times of epidemics is that it becomes painfully obvious how little our peers think of themselves and the health of those around them.
Making very minute readjustments to one's behavior to decrease one's chance to attract and spread disease always seemed like a no-brainer to me, but most can't be bothered. The worst part of the situation is that when people choose to not wash their hands when they leave the bathroom at the Student Union Memorial Center or cover up their mouths when they cough, they're functionally slapping everyone in the vicinity in the face.
""Haha! Your health means nothing to me! I shall cough and not wash my hands with renewed vigor!""
Typical student-aged individuals indulge themselves in an unhealthy mix of feeling invincible and social obliviousness. This functionally becomes a game breaker for the flu and its ability to spread, but rare is the student who bothers to be conscious of what bacteria are floating around until he's down with the sickness and asking for his friends to take care of him.
So as swine flu gets even more attention and is taken a bit more seriously, it will be the kick in the pants that our peers need to keep the H1N1 from spreading across our campuses. And while I hate to root for the virus, it will probably have to get worse before it registers as motivation for anyone to make the situation better.
Hopefully Obama's new announcement will make it easier to help people who already have the swine flu, and inspire those who don't to make better decisions about their health and how it affects those around them.
— Remy Albillar is a junior majoring in English. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
As always, swine flu blown out of proportion
On one hand, the president's declaration of a swine flu ""national emergency"" will probably be useful in some circumstances: hospitals dealing with swine flu issues will be able to go through the often-unnecessary red tape. On the other hand, the federal government has overestimated the supply of swine flu vaccines, and seems to be going along with the media in blowing a mere flu outbreak far out of proportion.
Overlooked in all of this is the fact that the H1N1 flu strain is also a sexually-transmitted disease. The administration should back a new initiative to educate the public about this face of the swine flu threat. Public service announcements should encourage citizens to wear protection and refrain from kissing, and Congress should formally declare a war on flu-ridden floozies. All of these steps would also serve the government's interest in distracting the public from knowing anything about health care legislation.
— Daniel Greenberg is a Near Eastern studies senior. He can be reached at email@example.com
Enough with the worrying
I have never thought of the word ""swine"" as being particularly noteworthy, but it has the ability to evoke fear of disproportionate magnitude when it prefaces ""flu."" Having left Australia during its winter in July, I've now been hearing news stories of the national emergency that is swine flu for roughly six months.
Frankly, it has yet to affect my life in any real way. People need to settle down and the media needs to start printing the death count of seasonal flu alongside the swine. Does anyone remember the global crises that were SARS and the bird flu? The only scary thing about swine flu is that it would be a horrifically unglamorous way to die. Everyone relax and stop breeding a demand for pharmaceuticals.
— Dunja Nedic is an Australian exchange student. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org