Everyone at work/in South Korea is freaking out about H1N1, again. Rumor has it that the Ministry of Health might shut down public schools for one to two weeks here. Which would mean hagwans would probably close. Which would be bad news...though a two week break would be awesome, I'm almost 99% sure I wouldn't get paid for the mandated vacay.
I was talking to my father the other morning on Skype. I guess one of his co-workers has an eighteen-year old son who got H1N1. Which he recovered from, but then immediately got pneumonia and is now in the hospital in the ICU with a collapsed lung.
I felt real fear for the first time after this conversation with my Dad. Not necessarily because I'm afraid of getting sick, or not being able to detect my symptoms if I have swine flu, but more because I felt like I'd lost touch with reality at home. How many people at home are actually sick? And how many people are actually dying from H1N1?
This seems to provide some solid data, though I'm not necessarily a fan of the fear-mongering, up-to-the minute hypochondriac-ish "weekly update" at the top of the page.
And this is a somewhat tranquilizing statistic, gleaned from another overly sensational TIME article (focused, of course, on dying children): seasonal flu kills an estimated 36,000 Americans annually. If you look at the above link, only 1205 people have died from swine flu this year.
Dear international news media: please stop terrifying everyone.