The picture from Mexico now seems substantially less alarming. Far fewer people seemed to have died from the Swine Flu than previously thought and deaths are not escalating even though numbers are increasing daily. There were no deaths from Swine Flu in Mexico yesterday. If the World Health Organisation learn anything from this, it is that they need a rapidly mobile team to go in and investigate these events and get hard news. This would not only prevent unnecessary economic damage, but also determine up front whether containment is required, instead of muttering “containment is no longer possible” several weeks later.
Now the genie is out of the bottle, it seems to look more and more that the biggest casualty of Swine Flu will be a damaged global economy (Yay! More damage). Mexico is preparing to shut down the country for five days, which seems a little over the top to me. Hong Kong has quarantined an entire hotel because of a single confirmed case. The tourism industry is in meltdown, hit by a recession and a possible pandemic.
Virologists have now examined the virus and concluded that it is probably not as dangerous as initially feared. Apparently it lacks the really bad bits that made the 1918 pandemic so deadly (the NS1 protein) and it is not like bird flu (H5N1) that primarily attacked the lungs. Of course, it is next to impossible to predict what this virus will do, but it looks increasingly likely that it will turn out to be not much more than your standard seasonal flu. Maybe a little more dangerous, but certainly nothing to panic about.
I have noticed that most of the news on Swine flu has shifted (mutated?) to speculation and guesswork. I won’t be continuing with these updates if speculation and guesswork are the only news, but will post if there is any new significant facts or developments. I will, however, continue to update the sidebar when I am able.