(Photo from this previous post, about visiting Americans quarantined in Shanghai.) In all countries the emerging view seems to be: the flu has not been that dangerous so far, during this atypical, spring time emergence (in the Northern Hemisphere). But it might be a more serious problem when it comes back in new form during the regular flu season, as the weather gets cold.
A reader who has recently been in Beijing writes to make a point I have heard from a number of health professionals too:
"I'm not an immunologist or anything remotely close. But I wonder if China is actually hurting themselves by so aggressively stopping the spread of H1N1. The current incarnation of H1N1 seems to be less lethal than the variants that we normally deal with. Wouldn't it be better to let this variety of H1N1 spread so that people build up immunity to this mild version of H1N1 and then if H1N1 becomes more lethal they will already have some immunity?The argument from the Chinese authorities is that in a big, poor country with a shaky public health network, they have no choice but to fight a new disease with everything they've got. Memories of the under-reaction to SARS in 2003 also have a Hurricane Katrina-style "let's not make that mistake again" effect. Given the inconvenience many people, Chinese and foreign, have already suffered in the name of flu control, I hope the hyper-aggressive early response to the flu doesn't backfire.
"By the way, while I was at university this summer in Beijing, a student living on the sixth floor of a dorm became ill with H1N1 and the police came with buses and removed about 60 people from that floor."
64-bit code: Last week, I declared a moratorium on discussion of "huge pages" in Apple's operating systems. (Hey, it was interesting at the time.) The reply below, for nerds only, qualifies in the spirit of fair-response. A reader writes:
"I have nothing to add to the "huge pages" discussion. I promise.
"But I would like address Mr. [Ken] Broomfield's closing statement which, I believe, is misleading: