Flu Hysteria

Okay, seriously people. The flu is a very, very common virus. Sure, there are tons of variants—some of which can be pretty harmful—but for a normal person with a healthy immune system, it’s just the flu. It’s like a cold, just worse. It’s just like pretty much any other respiratory virus.

The regular, run-of-the-mill seasonal flu generates enough irrational hysteria every year. Millions go out and get flu shots that they don’t really need (they’re really intended for the very young, very old, and others with weak immune systems). It makes the news when the flu starts afflicting people in the region, and there are regular updates on how effective or ineffective the vaccines have been that year.

But, despite this, most people still seem to understand that the seasonal flu is just the flu. Schools don’t close, people don’t stockpile hand sanitizer, and it’s not the lead story in every news outlet every spring—even though the regular seasonal flu infects 5-20 percent of Americans and kills about 36,000 of them (mostly with weak immune systems) each year.

With all this in mind, let’s have some sanity in our discourse about the so-called ‘Swine Flu’. Yeah, it’s new and different. Yeah, it has the potential to infect lots of people. But, ultimately, it’s still just the flu. It’s still not gonna’ kill you unless you have a weak immune system. It’s not gonna’ destroy society. All evidence so far would indicate it’s not much worse, if it’s worse at all, as compared to a regular seasonal flu. We don’t need to close schools for weeks or months because one student has it. We don’t need to drastically reorganize our lives around it.

Calm down.

Scott Bradford is a writer and technologist who has been putting his opinions online since 1995. He believes in three inviolable human rights: life, liberty, and property. He is a Catholic Christian who worships the trinitarian God described in the Nicene Creed. Scott is a husband, nerd, pet lover, and AMC/Jeep enthusiast with a B.S. degree in public administration from George Mason University.