Monday, April 27, 2009

Ready, set...

Before leaving for the Spring Game on Saturday morning, Mrs. KintlaLake and I briefly discussed staying home. We were aware of the outbreak of swine influenza A (H1N1 virus) and we wanted to make a smart decision about venturing into crowded public places.

Like I said, our conversation was brief. We went to the stadium anyway, judging the risk to be negligible.

Now let's get this out of the way: The media are not over-hyping the swine flu.

One of the greatest threats to life as we know it is a
flu pandemic. Although this particular swine-flu outbreak appears to be manageable and not generally lethal, public-health professionals can make only educated guesses about how it'll play out -- and if they don't know, I don't know.

Pundits sure as hell don't know. I dismiss useless commentary in favor of facts and I, for one, am grateful for the media's attention.

What we're seeing right now, as I understand it, is typical of a pandemic -- any pandemic, essentially, regardless of ultimate severity -- in its early stages. And while panic may be unjustified at this point, so is ignorance.

My family and I will continue to keep tabs on the news. We'll evaluate it critically and act accordingly.

We'll also be watching the reaction of public-health officials. If they're smart -- and provided that this outbreak isn't The Big One -- they'll be using the present threat to test their readiness.

The rest of us, by the way, have the same opportunity.