First of all, take a look at this hilarious TV commercial about swine flu in 1976:
With all the news about swine flu epidemic, I’m wondering whether the media is not adding to the panicking. There are now more than 70 thousand News articles on Google about swine flu. Many of them have headings like: “Flu Fears Spur Global Triage,” “Nation Braces for Worst as New Strain Emerges.”
Looking at the business side, pig farms across the world have suffered damages worth millions of dollars. U.S. pork industry alone has lost about $30 million since Indonesia, China and Russia have banned pork importing from the U.S. Farmers in Egypt fill up the streets protesting the government issued mandatory slaughtering of all pigs.
No doubt swine flu is deadly. As of May 6, the World Health Organization has recorded 29 deaths in Mexico, and more than 800 confirmed cases. The U.S. has two deaths and more than 400 confirmed cases.
But other epidemics are claiming more lives everyday in many parts of the world. A recent Cholera outbreak killed about 4,000 Zimbabweans, leaving 80,000 infected, and Malaria kills more than 3,000 children a day in Africa. In India, more than 300,000 people die of TB each year. Six years ago when SARS broke out, 800 people died globally despite the media predicting millions of deaths. Three years ago, there was an estimate that Bird Flu would kill between 13 to 16 million, but 260 deaths were reported worldwide.
Schools are closing down, and tourists are cancelling all trips to Mexico. Looks like Mexico will linger longer in recession due to this epidemic. Recently, some Mexicans were temporarily fired in Queens, and some were denied jobs.
While this is going on, corporate America and pharmaceutical companies abroad, are making it big time. There are now more than 250,000 prescriptions for Tamiflu pills at retail U.S pharmacies. Even local drug stores have reported a significant rise in sales of hand-sanitizers and mask. Filligent, a pharmaceutical company in Hong Kong, reports $6 million in sales of facial mask. Sinovac, a Chinese biotech company has seen about 80 percent rise in its stock after announcing that it’s ready to come up with a vaccine for swine flu. TV stations are seeing a rise in their ratings as more people are paying attention to the latest about the flu.
It's important to remember that in many countries where epidemics have been ravaging for years, life still goes on. Hopefully, the media will stop fueling the panic, and people can calm down, take precautions, wash their hands, and hope the epidemic will stop spreading soon.