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Preview: Comments on Gusts Of Popular Feeling: Lessons for the Swinish Multitude*

Comments on Gusts Of Popular Feeling: Lessons for the Swinish Multitude*





Updated: 2017-11-21T06:13:35.047+09:00

 



People with regular exposure to pigs are at increa...

2009-08-14T01:41:57.042+09:00

People with regular exposure to pigs are at increased risk of swine flu. More than 1100 people worldwide have died from swine flu since it emerged in Mexico and the US in April, according to the latest figures from the World.



So Rob and I went out there tonight. It was really...

2009-05-27T23:59:29.003+09:00

So Rob and I went out there tonight. It was really quite an experience. We got to talk with the woman who is in charge of the whole program. Plus we got to talk to some of the teachers (about 5 or 6 out of say 30) for a good half hour. They were perched on the roof at a distance of about 20 meters. Rob is gonna have a write up about it on his blog and I think the KH if I remember right.

I interviewed people on whether there seemed to be any bias in the quarantine selection process, and the consensus seemed to be that there wasn't. There were Koreans who were allowed to go home, but there were also foreigners who got to go home. There were also Koreans in quarantine with the foreigners. The list I saw had at least 4 Korean names.

Some (most?) of the teachers had just arrived and the ones I talked said they didn't have homes to go back to so the facility made sense. But just as the 2 teachers who were explaining this to me finished, another teacher said, "I have a home I could've gone to!!!"

I was also concerned about how careful the health care pros were in following proper quarantine protocol so that individuals weren't put at a higher risk than if they'd been able to stay home. The WHO has good info on the swine flu here:
http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/en/

It seems at the beginning the whole thing was a bit of a circus and the proper procedure wasn't really followed
http://www.who.int/csr/resources/publications/swineflu/ah1n1_checklist.pdf

But according to the teachers this wasn't out of any lack of concern for the teachers as foreigners, just plain old fashion negligence.

Patient zero is up and around. But about 4 or 5 people had been moved to hospitals because they'd contracted H1N1. The folks I saw looked as healthy as can be. The director says they will be out this Sunday at the latest.

Lets see how all this plays out in the media & society, but at the epicenter things looked ok.



That retraction does not change what I wrote above...

2009-05-27T20:02:41.471+09:00

That retraction does not change what I wrote above.

You're right. I was getting being quarantined at home and getting quarantined at all mixed up.

If I were in Korea I'd make some calls to see what's really going on. When blogs seem to be fixated on finding something wrong like this...

So is this the latest xenophobic witch hunt? Last year, it was diseased American cows. This year it’s diseased American teachers?

On what planet does this make any sense? Are Americans more genetically susceptible, even if they haven’t left Korea in years?
... which then "update" to include this...

Okay, so it looksl like they are starting to quarantine the people the teachers came into contact with.

... then I'm not sure how much we can trust the veracity of such reports.

It is an unfortunate fact that most of the H1N1 infected — so far — are not just foreigners but English teachers, and even the Koreans infected are — so far — people coming back from abroad.

In such a context it makes sense to apply extra attention on such groups, as long as adequate attention is being applied elsewhere where it's needed. But it only stymies efforts if people are sitting around watching this and making claims like it's the latest round of xenophobia.

I'm not saying you are doing that, but that certainly seems to be a dominant theme among the K-blogs. That and the idea that this is just a normal flu epidemic. It's not, and that's in part because of these "overreactions" by public health folks. Thus far, there is a global mortality rate of 0.7%, seven times higher than that of a regular flu epidemic.

Were people not as clued in to the prospect of this round of H1N1 becoming a global pandemic, the delay in getting treatment could itself raise the morality rate and the infection rate.

By the way, I think you make a good point out the hagwons being good places for cross-infection between school populations.



From the interview I quoted above: "The Korean st...

2009-05-27T19:43:55.202+09:00

From the interview I quoted above:

"The Korean staff and our staff-instructors who were with our orientation the entire time, in close quarters are being quarantined in place."

What I wrote:

"The opinion of people being quarantined is that it is only foreigners who were in contact with those who contracted swine flu who are being taken to quarantine facilities, but not Koreans, who are told to stay home."

That retraction does not change what I wrote above.

I agree with you about being compelled to go to work - and school - when sick being a big reason for Koreans getting so many colds. Another thing is that hagwons are an additional space in which colds can spread between schools.



Matt wrote: The opinion of people being quarantine...

2009-05-27T16:03:35.549+09:00

Matt wrote:
The opinion of people being quarantined is that it is only foreigners who were in contact with those who contracted swine flu who are being taken to quarantine facilities, but not Koreans, who are told to stay home.

This was retracted or corrected (here and here).

I wouldn't want to be quarantined and I can understand people blowing off steam with their blogs, but frankly I think this business of making the quarantine look like an exercise in xenophobia is not just getting ludicrous, it's detrimental.

Two-thirds of the people infected so far have been English teachers, and so English teachers and their cohorts and contacts are going to be a focus.

As for Koreans getting colds easily, I think the biggest culprit (or one of the biggest) would be people feeling compelled to go to work even when they're sick.

Someone came into our office even though he was like the walking dead and the guy — who was disgusting even when he's not sick — created a two-week cycle of flu infection where half the staff was extremely ill. I don't think I ever wanted to kick a sick person's ass so badly.