Friday, May 01, 2009

Swine Flu and Unfriendly Working Conditions Collide

Elizabeth brings up the very point I was thinking on my way home yesterday when I heard a whole district of schools in Alabama had closed as a result of two Swine Flu cases: what are working parents going to do? Like Elizabeth, when I was working, there was much I could do at home and my employer would certainly have been accommodating. But most people do not have accommodating employers and the hysterical people are also suggesting not to send kids to any kind of daycare. I suppose there will be lots of available high school students to babysit.

In another case of hysteria, Philly Mom Amy Jo is being asked to prove that her kid has had two flu shots in order for him to return to school next week. He's had one, and, having another would not protect him from the Swine Flu because, as she smartly points out, it's a mutation. Now Amy Jo is a stay at at home mom, so won't have the work conflict, but as she pointed out in an earlier post, even sahm's need sick days. A disruption in the routine, even for at home moms, can cause problems.

Last night on Keith Olbermann, Dr. Roy Gulik, pointed out that 36,000 people die each year from regular flu. You don't see schools getting all uptight about cases of regular flu. I liked his steady and calm and rational tone--very different from the tone we're hearing from the media, school districts, etc.

Finally, I'd like to point out that while schools are closing and freaking out over potential flu pandemic, workers will go to work sick because they have no sick days. How many times have you seen co-workers dragging in coughing and sneezing? Yeah, me too.

Update: This TED video explains why we should care. It was referencing the avian flu scare, not swine flu, but still relevant: