Ever since the Great Swine Flu Panic of '09 started a month ago, the problem has been the same: it's not that swine flu was utterly undeserving of being reported upon; it's just that the DEADLY EPIDEMIC OMG aspect was incredibly overblown. Finally, interest has settled down to reasonable levels.
In California, the worst appears to be over. And in New York, these two deaths would have gotten wall-to-wall coverage a few weeks ago; now they're back in the metro section, where they belong. Factors contributing to the sudden outbreak of reasonableness:
- Turns out swine flu's no worse than regular flu!
- Everyone who's died in NYC so far has had other health problems, not just the swine flu
- Public schools are reopening faster than they're closing in PANIC.
- It's sinking in now that the PANIC is really a waste of time:
Of those who have gone to the emergency room, fewer than 1 in 50 needed to be admitted to the hospital, Dr. Frieden said. "The vast majority of people going to the hospital emergency department probably shouldn't be going," Dr. Frieden said. Similarly, he said, a spot check of schools with high absenteeism showed that two-thirds of the children who were kept home were not sick.