The Skytrain is really quiet this morning, and it was the same yesterday too. The trains are usually packed to the rafters before they even get out of Surrey, but only about two thirds of the seats are taken this morning and we are well on our way into Burnaby. Where is everybody?
Hmmm… Is it because the weather is so beautiful? We are finally getting temperatures in the high teens and low twenties, and there is a lot to do in town at this time of year. Maybe people are digging into their annual vacation allotments. Makes me wonder why I didn’t do that…
I have to wonder whether it might also have to do with the H1N1 virus, commonly referred to as the swine flu. People seem to be suspicious of the tiniest cough or sniffle, and I know of at least one person who has been sent home from work because he exhibited these symptoms. Probably just a cold, but better that he not pass it on to his co-workers anyway.
The headline in the daily tabloid that the woman beside me is reading says that there are eleven confirmed cases of H1N1 in BC (no, I wasn’t snooping – it just caught my eye), and a CBC report said Canadian cases are fairly minor so far. Maybe the heightened sensitivity stems from the initial death toll in Mexico (which the World Health Organization has now discounted). Or perhaps it is due to talk that this virus could mutate quickly and in unexpected ways.
Talk of a virus can also mean boom or bust for businesses. Sales of hand sanitizer are way up. On the other hand, pig farmers worry that sales of pork will go way down due to H1N1’s association with swine, even though there are no food related risks associated with this virus. Maybe that’s why Prime Minister Harper is referring to H1N1 as the Mexican flu instead of the swine flu.
What is one to do? Don’t panic because this too shall pass. Hope that the virus peters out quickly. Most of all, don’t touch your face, and wash your hands a lot!