Swine Flu Causes Outbreak of Reality on Campus

What a difference some knowledge makes

Seven swine flu cases at Stanford University, in the heart of Silicon Valley? The news would have been worthy of a breaking news update in the middle of Oprah just a few weeks ago.  It certainly would have put Stanford's graduation ceremony at risk of cancellation. 

It's the best indicator that swine flu panic has turned into a terminal case of boredom. Take the anodyne press release which announced the outbreak: "Stanford informed of seven probable H1N1 flu cases."  The university has since upped that number to eight, but no matter -- the reaction is the same.

"Following the guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the county public health department, we are treating this as we would seasonal influenza," said Ira Friedman, director of Stanford's Vaden Health Center. "So we recommend that students follow the precautions they were given to avoid spread. Based on the advice of county health officials, we do not believe there is need for any other action at this point."

No quarantine.  No canceling of classes.  The school isn't even putting out an email to students telling them that their fellow Cardinals are sick. Back in April, when word of the swine flu outbreak in Mexico first hit, the whiff of a possible case shut down schools for a week at a time here in the Bay Area and across the country.  People flying in and out of Mexico were seen wearing masks.  Cruise lines changed course to avoid any port south of the border.

Now when real cases are confirmed,  we treat the thing like a mild flu.  Which is what the experts say it is.  As for the Stanford students, they have all been treated on campus or at Stanford Hospital and are on the road to recovery. As is our sense of perspective.

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