The swine flu has not turned out to be as dangerous as feared, thankfully. Why did we react the way we did? Here’s my list of five reasons.
1. LEGITIMATE FEAR: At the outset, no one knew how serious the outbreak would be. Since it was a hybrid of swine, avian, and human flu viruses, it could have been much deadlier than it was.
2. IMMIGRATION: Because the swine flu originated in Mexico, opponents of immigration cynically capitalized on the outbreak to renew their fight against immigration. Their inflammatory comments made national news. (Read more here.)
3. DISTRACTION: News coverage of flu was a distraction for a few days from the oppressive weight of economic recession, bankrupt car companies, and massive job losses. It was a welcome distraction.
4. TECHNOLOGY: The Internet enabled an epidemic of reporting. Like a global echo chamber, stories were repeated again and again via Web sites, email and Twitter. Coverage on OurValues.org was part of it. (Scroll down for earlier posts.)
5. FEARS OF THE BIG ONE: Health authorities have warned us again and again to expect a true pandemic. Any new outbreak triggers fears of the big one.
What do you think of these reasons? Do you agree or disagree?
What you add to the list?
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