The world’s most effective Petri dishes — schools — have reopened after the holiday break and that should make the flu season here worse than it already was.
“The number of kids we saw in the month of December–we have never seen like this ever before,” the director of infection prevention and control at Children’s Hospital tells WCCO. “I have been here 27 years and this was really record-breaking.”
A couple dozen kids are in the intensive care unit there.
Meanwhile, your cubicles mates are — if your organization is like most — wheezing and spreading the virus because they either couldn’t stay home (no sick time) or didn’t want to stay home (too important).
Flu shots weren’t a great help this year because they didn’t match the predicted virus that well. And only about half of people get flu shots anyway.
Still, Elie Mystal writes at Above the Law, the government can do more to lower the risk of the flu.
First of all: everybody should get the flu shot. Yes, even you, pregnant lady. Hell, especially you, pregnant lady. I really enjoyed this post that debunks 25 myths about the flu shot for people who have spent too much time listening to anti-vaxxers. The government couldn’t require people to take the flu shot. You have a constitutional right to be an idiot. But the government should be the cheerleader-in-chief for the vaccine and provide free flu shots.
But where the government could really help would be to institute a public/private partnership where the taxpayers would buy up unused flu vaccines to provide some kind of cushion for drug companies who oversupply. Fewer than half of the people in the U.S. get the flu shot every year. That is a FAILURE, America. The government should help us do better.
I also want to see the National “Note From A Doctor” Act. If you have the flu, DON’T GO TO WORK and infect the rest of us, you nasty, sneezing, walking infection. Nobody wants to go to work when they have the flu, but not everybody has a job where “calling in sick” is an easy option. We need legal protections that say if your doctor diagnoses you with a serious infectious illness, you can miss work with no consequences.
We can’t just leave this all to private industry and science. The flu should be illegal! Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for some more DayQuil.
Three children in Minnesota have died from the flu so far this season.
Related: Science says mom's right: Bundle up to avoid a cold (Bloomberg).