PostHeaderIcon You Got Swine Flu (Wear Me) [Updated]


The big 'scary' headlines on the world news this week is the Swine Flu 'Pandemic". Yes it's official now I guess as this morning on my local news, anyway, they have started officially calling it a "pandemic".

Uh... all you journalists: I (and I'm sure most reasonable people) are so sick and tired of your sensationalism and alarmist reporting. It's not a pandemic yet. it is suspected it will become one, but it's not one yet. Sheesh.

The first "official United States death" caused by swine flu is a 24-month-old child. Visiting from Mexico. It's a sad thing to be sure. But to me, all swine flu deaths to date are native indigenous Mexicans. Everything I've heard thus far regarding Europeans and U.S. residents infected is that the flu, as hard-hitting as it might be is relatively mild in comparison to what's going on in Mexico.

No, I am not making light of the seriousness of swine flu. Real people die from an influenza infection every year - often very young children and elderly adults. And the swine flu packs a more powerful punch than the average strain.

But, can anyone say "regional, cultural and geographical influences regarding population health as a whole"?

I know for a fact the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a presence in Second Life. So I was curious to see how they are using SL with regard to the swine flu specifically. There are many ways to use the virtual world to predict such things. However, doing a search for "swine flu" via the "search all" function brings-up what I thought it would bring-up.

A few comments in people's profiles with the requisite chat quotes. In those user "picks" there was one person who mentioned they are not in-world very often for the time being because they have the swine flu. My best wishes for a fast and healthy recovery to you.

And among those quotes are a few references to "so-and-so gave you Swine Flu". If you've been in SL for any length of time at all you'll know what this is. Some scripted prim that when worn or rezzed will likely animate you in some way and shout out some embarrassing or humorous text in general chat.

There are amazing things happening in Second Life. Education, experimentation, scientific studies, corporate work, fantastical art. There also is a lot of deviant behavior going-on, too. Even though this is the minority of activity in SL, it's what gets the loudest shouts for attention (see my statement regarding idiot journalists always looking to sensationalize everything above.)

So I wonder how those individuals in SL who really do have the swine flu feel about the "joke swine flu" that's being thrown around for "laughs"?

[UPDATE - 08:25] World Health Organization also agrees that news organizations are overstepping their bounds (my words, not theirs):

A member of the World Health Organisation (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

Vivienne Allan, from WHO’s patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

[From Only 7 swine flu deaths, not 152, says WHO « American Everyman]
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