Should L.A. Cancel May Day?

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The current swine flu pandemic is starting to bring about closures throughout the nation. Texas has postponed all high school sporting events. In California, three private schools have already closed as a precautionary measure.

So what about May Day?

According to their website, A.N.S.W.E.R.L.A. is still hosting their annually mass march and rally in Downtown Los Angeles this Friday to “stop war & end racism” and demand “full rights for all immigrants.”

Having identified Patient Zero, we know that current strain of the flu originated in Mexico. While it may be a painful, politically-charged question to ask, is such a large gathering at this time a good idea?

Better yet, is any large gathering a good idea? Should we be talking about postponing Major League Baseball games? What do we do about large gatherings of people on trains or buses? Should there be flu screenings at LAX?

Of course, there is a tendency to say that we are overreacting. We hope we are. But, some are saying the United States isn’t reacting enough. According to the Associated Press, Malaysian health workers in face masks are taking the temperatures of passengers touching down from Los Angeles. FROM LOS ANGELES.

Now does the pig have your attention?

Photo from amitrunchal’s flickrstream

12 Replies to “Should L.A. Cancel May Day?”

  1. That’s not a painful question to ask, anything can happen. Hopefully
    the “sick” ones will stay home. That’s all we need to go along with this
    recession, a major health epidemic. We’ll see.

  2. Heatseeker – given that the incubation period when people with the flu are asymptomatic is 1-4 days, knowing that you are sick isn’t a guarantee.

    Waltarrrr – H5N1 Avian Flu apparently is much, much more difficult to transmit from human to human than the current swine flu strain, and as it was centered in Asia, not in Mexico City and now the United States, the situation may be fundamentally different. That being said, health officials in the States and Los Angeles have said repeatedly that it’s too early to know whether avoiding public/crowded areas or events is relevant to stopping the spread of the virus.

  3. Looks like you avoided the issue of having Cinco de Mayo celebration.
    Are you more against politics during the May day events. I know the police would gladly not have this event to monitor….

  4. Marshall: “Waltarrrr – H5N1 Avian Flu apparently is much, much more difficult to transmit from human to human than the current swine flu strain, and as it was centered in Asia, not in Mexico City and now the United States, the situation may be fundamentally different.”

    Um, and your point about the differing origins is…? I might be reading between the lines of what you’re saying, but I just want to be sure.

    Between this post and the recent one decrying the naming of the eastside extension of the Gold Line as the Linea de Oro, I’m getting a queasy feeling reading this blog recently…

  5. Evan, I think Marshall’s point was that Avian Flu hadn’t really been an issue here in southern California, while swine flu has been isolated here.

    As for what we call the Gold Line, you can call it The Gold Line in whatever language you want. I can read Spanish, so it doesn’t bother me. I think if people have a problem with that, perhaps they need to ask themselves why it’s such an imposition to at least work at learning another language. Everyone in Europe is bilingual, why not us? Jeez.

  6. Evan – basically, I’m saying that Avain Flu wasn’t particularly relevant to the health of Southern Californians because avian flu was never really a likely threat to human health, mainly due to the fact that human-human transmission was incredibly rare, and in the case of H151, we’re dealing with a (hopefully mild!) virus that seems to have high rates of human-human transmission. Had Avian Flu had the same rate of transmission, it would have been (and should it mutate in the future, could still be) of equal or greater concern than the current outbreak, given that it would have made its way to LA in a matter of hours. It’s about the nature of the virus, not the people who have it.

    If you’re trying to imagine that I (or anyone else here) would be more concerned about an infectious disease emerging from Mexico City than from Toronto, for some kind of racial/cultural reason, then you’re way off the mark. Frankly, as an Angeleno, I feel a certain regional and cultural kinship with Mexico City as it goes through this crisis, that I probably wouldn’t if it was centered in Toronto – and my mother is Canadian, and I occasionally speak with a mild Canadian accent.

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