Mexico Flu Diary – Day 5

From a personal point of view, today saw the worst developments of the flu outbreak so far. I give more than half of my English classes in one place, a multinational pharmaceutical plant in the south of the city. And today they banned all non essential external visits to the plant until further notice. That’s half my pay down the drain for this week at least.

Tomorrow the government authorities are issuing more information regards closures etc, apparently, so I can only hope it’s good news. Losing more than half my pay for one week is bad news. Two weeks is a bit of a disaster, but survivable. Three weeks plus would be a real catastrophe. We are currently plotting how we can economise to the max. They’ve also closed all restaurants, allowing caterers to sell take out food only.

We could once survive on just five or six thousand pesos a month just fine, but since then we’ve gotten Sky TV and all sorts. Nothing lavish or extravagant, but just a few extra bills pushes the minimum required income up a fair bit.

Otherwise, things are seemingly quieter every day. Although still not dead. There is life in the city yet. And there is some positive news. Sanjay Gupta of CNN fame has reported on Twitter (selected quotes below) that deaths seem to be tapering off, and that less people are bothering with the masks. Although it seems to me that more are wearing them, not less. It’s also questionable how much masks really help. I’ve been told that any protection they do offer is reduced with use, and they need replacing at least daily. And having seen daily death totals going up by dozens daily, they have only gone up by 3 today, settling at 152. That’s good news. Well, except for the three…

  • doctors here telling me sudden, high fever seems to be a characteristic of swine flu vs seasonal flu. if worried, take your temperature.
  • it appears the rate of deaths in mexico is starting to taper down. now the key is vigilance when flu season starts up in the fall/winter.
  • the fatality rates are decreasing as are the hospitalizations. fewer masks not a good thing, but less anxiety today.

There are other good sources besides the good Dr Gupta to keep up to date with the flu. Inside Mexico has loads of reports, and is on Twitter too. Other Twitter users that manage to send out interesting reports are RivergirlCancun and CancunCanuck.

One question I have been asked today is, “Do you intend on sticking around or at what point (in this pandemic) would you consider getting out of here?” Well, I am doing the former and to be honest, unless the aporkalyse arrives and hundreds of thousands start dying in the city, I’ll have no plans to leave.

But even in the very unlikely circumstance of things getting that bad, would I be any deal safer elsewhere? Probably not. Or…well, there is one mysterious factor with this virus. It seems it’s just Mexicans dying. No one else in any other country, to my knowledge, has died as a result of contracting this strain of flu. All the fatalities are Mexicans. Why? I do not know. I don’t think anyone does, although a couple of theories have been put forward. Firstly that Mexicans have been slow to seek treatment, or that a secondary and unrelated local bug has complicated issues here.

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