Friday, May 1, 2009

Oh no! Swine flu in Washington! Everybody PANIC!!!

Oh wait, not really. 14 suspected cases.
May I remind you that as of July 2008, the population of Washington State was 6,549,224. If we round up to 7,000,000, 1 in every half million people in the State of Washington may have been infected thusfar. That is, if those cases of swine flu really are swine flu. According to the CDCs' website on this thing, there haven't been any confirmed cases of swine flu in the state of Washington yet.
Moreover, there have been 141 confirmed cases in the country, with 1 death. That is a less than 1% mortality rate, and this thing isn't exactly spreading like wildfire. It's been going on for a week and we've had fewer than 150 confirmed cases. In a week. That's not very much, if you're at all familiar with air-borne pathogens.
Okay, so, let's do some math here.
We'll say the population of the US is holding steady at 300,000,000 (three hundred million), and we'll say that there really have been 150 cases. That means 1 person in every two million people in this country has caught the swine flu.
Now, two million is 2,000 thousands. So what do these numbers mean? I'll use some local examples.
  • Safeco Field, where the Mariners play, holds somewhere around 50,000 people. So, if you cram four people into every single seat in Safeco Field, ONE PERSON in the entire four-times-over-capacity staduim will be infected with this swine flu.
  • In the city of Seattle, (population just under 600,000) less than one third of a person would be infected.

So, yeah, as the numbers currently stand, one in every two million people in the whole country has swine flu. And, I know, with more people infected, the rate of infection will go up, of course. But let's just say that the virus capable of causing a pandemic is a teeny-tiny-teeny-little underacheiver when it only infects 141* people in 5 days. I'm pretty sure Wilt Chamberlain spread faster than that.

That's not to say you shouldn't take precautions. You should ALWAYS wash your hands with hot water and soap, and if you're immune-compromised you should do it more often. Keep the rest of your body clean, including your fingernails, and if you bite your fingernails (like my Schmoogie does) FUCKING STOP IT! It's gross, and you're going to get sick.

Take your vitamins, get enough sleep, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, eat a balanced diet, and all of those other things your mom got on your ass about when you were a kid. Moms are the CDC's infantry, you know. Also, don't lick or kiss your classmates or coworkers (especially if they are sick), and again, wash your damn hands. (Most people don't seem to realize that our hands touch everything, and that everything everywhere is covered in germs. I repeat: YOUR HANDS ARE COVERED IN GERMS.)

So, enough with the panic, alright? The Seattle Erotic Arts Festival is this weekend. Go enjoy some penis art instead of freaking out about a virus that is affecting 1 in every 2,000,000 people in this country.

*Yes, I realize I am flaunting my American privilege by with this statement. There have been 331 cases in 11 countries, according to The Who... I mean, the WHO. Now, I don't have a calculator big enough to figure out how many billions of people that is per case (bearing in mind that there are 6 billion plus people on this damn planet, and over 200 countries). So, when we look at the global outlook on this stupid thing, we find that the panic is even less founded than previously thought. Just wash your goddamn hands, okay?

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