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H1N1 coverage — get used to it

September 4, 2009 - Per Peterson
Had a guy stop me the other day pleading for the Independent to quit running stories about H1N1. “Enough!” he shouted. “It’s just the flu, we deal with it every (bleepin’) day. Once I talked this guy off the ledge, I calmly explained to him that it’s big news all over the country, not just here, and with school starting in these parts next week, it’s even more important to pay attention to it and write about it. While we may not see a pandemic or outbreak anytime soon, there are a lot of kids out there who will soon be hanging out together in the classroom, on the bus, in a restroom, in the lunch line, in the gym, and in case you haven’t noticed, many kids aren’t that big on sneezing or coughing into their arms. You see it all the time — a sneeze sneaks up on a kid and … WACHOO! Kids don’t always react quickly enough when a sneeze comes on, and the more we can remind parents to remind their kids it’s not OK to blow your germs all over a room, the better. The Independent has two more flu-related stories in Saturday’s paper — one locally-written about three school nurses who have taken a proactive role in fighting a possible H1N1 outbreak, and the other, a nationally-written piece centered on day cares. I hope we won’t have to cover any outbreaks in our schools in the coming months. I hope it will just go away. But in all likelihood, it won’t. In all likelihood, this could be one of the worst flu seasons in the last 20 years. So are we making too big a deal out of this? No, I think not. One affected kid could mean 10. Ten could mean 20. It’s a story that affects everyone, because not even the guy who jumped me Thursday can run and hide from the flu.


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