Swine flu scare just a scare

Andrew J. Ansolabehere and Manuel Morfin
May 6, 2009
Filed under News

The public’s feelings toward the H1N1 virus or swine flu are now matching those of the government. The official stance on the H1N1 virus is that it is no more than a basic flu virus.

According to research done by the Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, N.M., the H1N1 virus is not a serious threat.

Assistant Research Biologist Katherin Schaad said that through their government-funded research, it has been determined that the flu is a level two virus and no more dangerous than any other flu.

Schaad claims that the scientific community cannot believe the response to the virus.

She believes that instead of calming fears, the government has only contributed to creating the panic that ensued after the discovery of the virus.

“There may have been some heightened feelings among the public, but the department is keeping the same stance it has had since late April,” said John Nilon, director of the Kern County Department of Public Health. He feels the hype made about the severity of the H1N1 virus sent the general public into an unnecessary frenzy.

“Nationally and internationally, I don’t think there is any backing away from the seriousness of it,” said Nilon. The department has known the seriousness of the situation since the virus appeared in late April.

Although the virus is not as threatening as it was made out to be, Nilon said the best thing people can do is still take precautionary actions to avoid getting the virus.

“At this point in Kern County, there is no confirmed case of swine flu. We do not suggest shutting down schools or events.

“If you have flu-like symptoms, stay home. If the symptoms get worse, call your doctor’s office or clinic and find out what they can do for you,” remarked Nilon.

Don Clark, BC agriculture major, said people know how to be safe and that the same basic steps that have been followed for many years to avoid getting the common flu, such as washing your hands, etc., should be followed.

Regarding the possible evacuation and closure of all BC’s campuses in the event of a confirmed case of H1N1, Clark said that the administration is overreacting.

“If we run a blood test on every student in this campus, I’m sure we will find diseases much worse than the swine flu, and yet we wouldn’t be closing down campus,” Clark said.

Omead Poure, accounting major, said that the media is making a bigger issue of the flu than it really is. “They are making it seem like the world is gonna end,” said Poure.

Still, Poure wouldn’t be upset if BC had to close even during finals.

“I think my health is more important than any finals,” said Poure, who mentioned that he wouldn’t be comfortable in class knowing that someone is carrying the virus.

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