Just yesterday I was complaining about the lack of hard news in newspapers. Today, I have to bring you proof positive of what should be the biggest non-story of the week and it's only Sunday!
First, I had to laugh at the picture I found when looking for a huggable "swine". What better than one hugging a little Chinese girl. Think Hong Kong, where the current Director General of the WHO, served as a civil servant. Think Hong Kong where masked police (I love the irony) were holding guests captive in their hotels because one guest had flu symptoms.
Now we're being told the pandemic is easing, people are on the mend. Take an aspirin, drink plenty of water and rest. Go ahead and have pork chops for dinner tonight.
Wait! Are Canadian pork chops safe? Hmmm. According to an AP story in today's Spokesman Review pigs on a Canadian farm may have been infected by.......a farmer!
The poor pigs can't win! The farmhand had been vacationing in Mexico and obviously came back with the bug. He's recovering nicely, no doubt after having taken his aspirin, water and rest. If no one panics the pigs should too recover. According to Slate, pig mortality rates from the flu are far lower than human.
I got to thinking we should treat our snouted friends with a bit more respect. After all, many tests are done on pigs before humans because of similarities between the species. How many of us have heart valves from pigs pulsing away in our chests? At times I am ashamed that I so love bacon and ham!
This is the time to put the media to the test. Slate tells us pigs get the flu much like we humans do - from sneezes and coughs from other pigs. They get a fever, cough, their eyes and noses run; they sneeze. They just plain don't feel good and are put in isolation where they'll recover in about a week with proper rest and hydration. Sound familiar? We could pop them an aspirin to speed up recovery but we really need to keep the farmhands out of the pen!
We are told the WHO insists there is no evidence pigs are passing the virus to humans or that eating pork products puts anyone at risk so basically this should be a non-story. That it made the paper, however, makes it a story. It will be interesting to see if it remains an AP filler story on page 5 or if it becomes headline news!