How to Prepare for a Pandemic

Time, 5/18/2009

Barack Obama speaking about swine flu
Barack Obama speaking about swine flu

It’s fitting that in a booming metropolis of 20 million people, the first sign that Mexico City had been recalled to life wasn’t a public religious ceremony or a political rally but a traffic jam. After a weeklong shutdown in response to the H1N1 flu outbreak, on May 5–Cinco de Mayo–Mexico City began to stir again. The spread of the swine flu had slowed, leading Mexican officials to hope that the worst had passed. “Our strategy is working,” said Mexican President Felipe Calderón. “We are now in a position to gradually resume our everyday activities.”

So, were the hundreds of U.S. school closures and the presidential press conferences about hand-washing much ado about not that much? Unfortunately not. As health officials pointed out repeatedly, we’re still in the early days of the H1N1 outbreak, and influenza viruses are notoriously unpredictable.

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Earlier last week we compiled a list of government and news resources on the swine flu outbreak.