Then there's the rest of us ...
The death toll in the US from the recent, endlessly ballyhooed disease is -- one. To put that in perspective, check out leading causes of death in 2005 in the US (latest available complete data, from Centers for Disease Control):
- Heart disease: 652,091
- Cancer: 559,312
- Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 143,579
- Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 130,933
- Accidents (unintentional injuries): 117,809
- Diabetes: 75,119
- Alzheimer's disease: 71,599
- Influenza/Pneumonia: 63,001
- Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 43,901
- Septicemia: 34,136
I don't know about you, but to me the swine-flu coverage (and concern) seems more than a little disproportionate.
Meanwhile, our vice president has responded to this situation by announcing he's advised his family to avoid air travel and mass transit. That doesn't exactly give me a warm-and-fuzzy about how clearheaded would be his response to other issues that may come his way. (My guess: If Bush 43 had been the one to make that statement, the press would be pillorying him.)
As an exercise in sociology, press and government reaction to the outbreak is fascinating. As public policy ... ugh.