Talking points 1.5.09

Masked couple Hi from quaratine, and happy May Day. I can’t see too far beyond swine flu for today’s show, especially now that Mexico is preparing to do what everyone there feared and shut down parts of its economy. Have a look at these suggestions and let me know what you think.

1. Does the economy matter more than stopping sine flu?
When we were in Mexico people seemed far more worried about the threat to their finances posed by swine flu than the threat to their health. The government was talking about closing all businesses, but as the early days of the week passed it seemed to have turned against that idea.

Not anymore, and it’s beginning a five-day shutdown of parts of its economy.

A sensible and appropriate measure you might say with the WHO putting the virus at Phase 5 of 6. But might the economic consequences of this (one BBC journalist put the figure at 60 million a day for Mexico City) actually cause more health problems the the swine flu virus?

If people are losing money they’ll be stressed and may have fewer resources to fund food and healthcare. Isn’t that a more serious problem for Mexicans?

2. Martin suggests ‘Do women have to show men the show in politics?’
He’s been reading about Silvio Berlusconi’s disagreement with his wife and the sex ban by women political activists in Kenya.

I’ll be honest I need some persuading on that one. I just swine flu is too big a story at the moment for us to go anywhere else. But Martin may make his case when he gets in.

3. Should people who’ve been in Mexico for the last week be treated like pariahs?

You’d never guess I have a vested interest in this one. But seriously, how would you react if I asked to come and meet you? Do you think anyone who’s been in Mexico recently should be kept out of contact with everyone else as much as possible? Or is that an over-reaction?

Mark’s just told me about this article in the New Scientist.

It says we can be infectious for 24 hours before the symptoms kick in which definitely wasn’t what we were told.

I’m feeling decidedly less relaxed about being at home than I did an hour ago.

We had been told the symptoms arrived at the same time as us becoming contagious. Food for thought.

12 Responses to “Talking points 1.5.09”

  1. 1 steve
    May 1, 2009 at 13:02

    Hey Ros, you left out the “W” in swine in your first bulletin head (1).

    But honestly, it seems a LOT more people are affected by, and killed by the normal flu than this, and we don’t shut down economies over the regular flu.

    Also, I saw my first face mask wearer in DC this morning. I did a doubletake when I saw this person.

    • 2 Jessica in NYC
      May 1, 2009 at 17:57

      I saw mine first face mask in the subway last night. It started me for a second, wondering what happened. Then realizing it was swine related I started giggling and apparently it caught one and a lot of people started laughing quietly.

  2. 3 gary
    May 1, 2009 at 13:58

    As to the points:
    1. The economy and the lives of the people are one.

    2. The only admission ticket required for to humanity is existence; but I’ve always suspected it’s the women who are the gatekeepers of culture and society (mostly indirectly I think). If it were not for them needing a cave with a better view, or a somewhat more fashionable rock upon which to spread evening meal, men would still be hurling adl-adls at the bison down by the water hole. And of course, it’s no use pretending men don’t find display of feminine curves more than that which they can cope. The bottom line is, a woman can choose with whom she sleeps; men usually cannot. It’s fair in politics too1

    3. If your friend recently from Mexico is a great slavering mess of person, habitually unwashed and now sneezing all over everyone, avoiding him or her might be best. Asymptomatic and normally hygienic folks haven’t suddenly become magically infective in Mexico City, and shouldn’t be treated as if they had.

  3. 4 ecotopian
    May 1, 2009 at 15:46

    I don’t think your a pariah. That’s someone whose really hated, rejected and lives segregated from society on a permanent basis. You’re in quarantine because the health officials want to keep the rest of the UK healthy. That’s their job, isn’t it? You’re not hated. People just don’t want to get sick. There’s a huge difference. I can understand why you’d be irritated. You spent away from your family when you were in Mexico and when you get home, you get tossed into quarantine. What a welcome home. I’d be steaming mad, but that’s my nature. I will say that I don’t know how I would react. I might be a little spooked, but I wouldn’t go running for a face mask and hand sanitizer.

    As for your friend’s article, being contagious a day before showing symptoms is true for all strains of flu, not just this one. Next time we have a run of the mill flu season, keep that in mind.

    I can understand that you hate being cooped up. Try to see this from the health officials view. As I said, this is their job, how would you feel if they didn’t do this? They’re dealing with a bug that’s new, how else do you expect them to react?

  4. 5 Jessica in NYC
    May 1, 2009 at 18:01


    I dunno Ros, fear makes people complete completely irrational and absurd.

  5. 6 Peter
    May 1, 2009 at 18:24

    Conspiracies theories abound. From terrorist attack, pharmaceatical companies sabotaging to make billions from vaccines.
    I think porky did it. Happy quarantine.

  6. 7 Jennifer
    May 1, 2009 at 18:42

    Re: Does the economy matter more than stopping sine flu?

    At this point, swine flu can not be stopped but we can reduce the number of cases by using our knowledge…

    Re: Martin suggests ‘Do women have to show men the show in politics?’

    That may work with men but it doesn’t work with other women, apparently. Oops! haha Usually, the claws come out.

    Public arguments……not wise….seems to me Berlusconi and his wife need to have their arguments behind closed doors not in public.

    Sex bans; I guess you got to do what you got to do to! But really, will it solve the problems in Kenya? I don’t think so…

  7. 8 Uzondu Esionye
    May 1, 2009 at 19:21

    Hi there Ros,
    I was interested in knowning if you were aware that you would be flying back home to London after you did the show from Mexico city? I was happy to hear you clear up things on the Program yesterday, but I still need some answers. I am sorry that people would be giving such treatments. Take courage and learn from this.

  8. 9 Trish
    May 3, 2009 at 08:24

    Hey there..! Howdy from the big colony. Enjoy your forced ‘vacation.’.

    The swine flu is top priority right now for 2 reasons. 1. We don’t know enough about its characteristics to say absolutely that this is no different in effect than other seasonal flus. With so many deaths in Mexico, the investigation has to be done & precautions taken, even if, after the fact, we learn that we overreacted.

    As a side note, here in the US, people wonder why the border hasn’t been closed to Mexico for the time. The authorities say it’s because the flu is already here. My opinion is that during the ‘ethnic cleansing’ that was the Indian wars, the army was guilty of bacterial warfare by sending smallpox infected blankets to the Indians. Would you, as an Indian, continue to accept gift blankets, because smallpox is “already here”? That rationale sounds lazy to me.
    Reason # 2 is because we can’t have a working economy if everyone is likely to become or is already sick, if not dead.

    As Wyatt Earp & his lady did, enjoy “room sevice”! I’d like a forced paid vacation ..!!

  9. 10 Dennis Junior
    May 5, 2009 at 04:22

    1. Does the economy matter more than stopping sine flu? (No, stopping “swine” flu, is more important than the economy to a point…..)

    2. Martin suggests ‘Do women have to show men the show in politics? (I am in the camp of Ros, need more persuading…..

    3. Should people who’ve been in Mexico for the last week be treated like pariahs? (Yes, Sorry Ros and Mark….including you too and the rest of the BBC team in Mexico City; for at least 10 days….)

    ~Dennis Junior~

  10. 11 Dennis
    May 6, 2009 at 10:22

    The swine flu is only media hype!
    It’s nowhere as big an issue as the media is making it.
    (Sorry, Ros, considering your job).
    Local media news (www.wmur.com) is giving at least 15 minutes of the “horror” swine flu COULD cause IF it were to become a worldwide pandemic.
    The odds are likely you will have the average winter flu, colds, gas, being taken out by lightning, deal with angry drivers, and stub your toe, more than the odds of being taken out by the dreaded mask-wearing disease.
    Who knows, perhaps a bolt of lightning might have your number on it.
    I don’t think covering oneself in aluminum foil’s going to become popular any time.

    This is a farce!!!!!!!

    Mind you, the uneducated that can’t think logically for themselves, would be the ones treating you as an outcast.

    • 12 Sheldon
      May 7, 2009 at 20:19

      I really believe that the swine flue is a big a issue as it is and especially in this economical climate.
      However, a more bigger issue is “where is this world with its finincial crisis heading”. This is more depressing and will be having a longer lasting effect on people’s lives than this swine flue.

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