May 05

Swine Flu Scare, is it too much hype or just right amount of alertness?

Written by raventhorn4000 on Tuesday, May 5th, 2009 at 12:18 am
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It’s not permanent Orange Alert condition, but the latest swine flu cases around the world has definitely caused some small amount of panic.

Is it too much hype or just right amount of alertness? I don’t know.

It’s not Duct tape your house in case of chemical attacks, but some in the West have accused China (including HK) of overreacting, in the latest cases of quarantines imposed on Mexican travelers.

Over 300 guests in HK’s Metropark Hotel have been quarantined for several days now.

Some Mexican travelers in China have been put into quarantines despite having NO symptoms of swine flu.

Mexico has denounced these quarantines as discriminatory and “inhumane”.

But let’s put this in perspectives:

(1) the Guests in Metropark Hotel are mostly NON-Mexicans. That’s not “discriminatory”.

(2) the 1 confirmed case Swine flu of Mexican traveler who was on a flight to China, initially also did NOT show any signs of illness. So much is unknown about this particular strain of swine flu, including how long does it take from initial infection to showing symptoms.

This indeed justify some quarantines of travelers from some geographic origins.

This is not “discriminatory”.

(3) Mexico itself has imposed blanket shutdowns of virtually all public places, including schools, shops, etc., to prevent the spread of swine flu, with no end in sight.

One can hardly claim that China’s limited quarantine procedure in this case is unjustified when the Mexican government itself has imposed a far more draconian dragnet operation.

In terms of economic damages, Mexico’s own shutdowns have caused far more damages to its own economy and impacted far more of its own citizens than China’s quarantines.


While specific targeting of quarantines might be more helpful and less stressful to individuals, but one must face reality, even the CDC doesn’t know for sure how the swine flu is being spread. Undoubtedly it could be any number of means.

Even some in US are suggesting an outright border sealing with Mexico.

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15 Responses to “Swine Flu Scare, is it too much hype or just right amount of alertness?”

  1. S.K. Cheung Says:

    Excellent question, which is impossible to answer, for, as you suggest, so little is known at this point. Prevention of infection seems prudent, so taking precautions to prevent spread of infection seems reasonable. Quarantine seems like the best step; but for how long? I read that time from infection to showing signs of infection is 7 days, but I don’t know how anyone can be positive about that, at this point.

    BTW, I think many, if not most, of those quarantined in the HK hotel are Canadian.

    However, if China is taking a measured response to this outbreak, hopefully she will be equally understanding the next time she has an outbreak of her own, and Chinese citizens are subjected to travel restrictions and quarantines. And hopefully, China, if she were to have an outbreak in the future, will be forthcoming with the facts in a more timely fashion than she has demonstrated in the recent past.

  2. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I rather think China’s information about this swine flu outbreak is rather clear. There have been several cases of Chinese citizens being quarantined for precautions after showing some signs of flu like symptoms. That is not discriminatory.

    Incidentally, 4 Latin American countries have also cancelled flights from Mexico. Mexican Government has complained about these practices as “unfair”.

    But come on, Mexico pretty much painted itself as the “origin” of the disease, when it began to shutdown virtually all of its public places.

  3. raventhorn4000 Says:

    On the Conspiracy theory side,

    I wonder how this came about in such an odd time. Just as US is ramping up its assistance of Mexico on the drug war, suddenly an unknown disease breaks out in Mexico.

    I shudder to think if this was some biological weapon used by the Mexican drug cartel.

    If it is, it is effective. One minute, US is all gun-ho about going into Mexico to solve the drug problem, the next minute, US is thinking about sealing off the border.

    On the other hand, a sealed border would seal off all drug trade as well. (in which case, perhaps this is a plot by the US government to solve the drug problem.)

    On the 3rd hand, the US Mexican border is so porous, one can hardly stop the in flow of drugs and infected individuals. (In which case, perhaps this was a drug cartel plot afterall).

    Excuse my layered conspiracy theory.

  4. S.K. Cheung Says:

    I have no problem with how China is handling the current outbreak, from what I can see.

    I agree, Mexico seems to be the undisputed source. The first case was there, they’ve had the most cases, and they’ve had the most deaths to date.

    My last paragraph was just in reference to how China’s information dissemination could’ve been better during the previous SARS and bird flu outbreaks. Particularly SARS, where she was the similarly definitive source.

  5. raventhorn4000 Says:

    I have no doubt that China is receptive to all beneficial changes/reforms to her economic and political systems, but only if they are proven concretely beneficial and not merely hypothetically.

  6. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000 #5:
    not sure what that has to do with swine flu. But since you mention it…

    Let’s say a model of governance different from the current CCP model is proven to be concretely beneficial. Do you honestly think the Hu Jintao will say: ok, the people have built a better mousetrap; time for us to get out of the way of progress.

    If you do, then you are of mighty strong faith. Good on ya.

  7. raventhorn4000 Says:


    If you do not have faith in your leaders’ ability to adapt, then sorry on ya, but don’t transpose it onto others.

    Most people are adaptable, especially the Chinese politicians in a cutthroat competition system like in China.

    I would honestly believe that Hu Jintao would agree to a PROVEN beneficial change. But I would suggest that someone would have to do better at “proving”.

    So far, the performance of Western democracy is not entirely inspiring in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Western capitalism has only turned out bad loans and Madoff.

    You may want to discount those bad things, but Hey, some Westerners prefer Chinese medicine.

    Some poisons can be medicinal, and some medicines are poison if taken by the wrong person.

    So don’t ask any government to “try something new” that fits in your “round hole”. there is no such universal absolute medicine to cure all governments.

  8. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000:
    “If you do not have faith in your leaders’ ability to adapt…” – oh, I have faith in my leaders’ ability to adapt; China’s current leaders, not so much. Particularly if such adaptation would mean they would no longer be the leaders…

    “I would honestly believe that Hu Jintao would agree to a PROVEN beneficial change” – even if it means he and the CCP lose power? Wow, good for you. I’ve got a bridge in Portland I’d like to sell ya…

    Admittedly, the move to democracy in Iraq and Afghanistan has been slow. Having said that, to encapsulate the entirety of “western capitalism” into subprime loans and pyramid schemes seems ridiculously narrow-minded.

    Just as some Westerners prefer Chinese medicine, at least an equal number of Chinese prefer Western medicine. THe difference is that westerners get to make that choice; the CHinese (in CHina at least), not so much.

  9. raventhorn4000 Says:


    Your 1 sided faith is rather human, and also rather narrow minded. I do not believe all Western Capitalism encapsulate mere failures, so don’t twist my words to suit your narrow mind.

    Only dirty mind see dirty things.

    Choice? Choice comes only in a vote in once an election cycle?

    BTW, original democracies didn’t have ballots, they used VOICES. If you want to be a round peg, you better go back to VOICES instead of Ballots. Afterall, you said “people should have VOICE”, Literally! LOL!

    You say Choice, and you only note “vote”. Well, Chinese have a CHOICE. and they made it 60 years ago. We called it the Civil War.

    It worked for US to solve the slavery issue.

  10. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To R4000:
    “Western capitalism has only turned out bad loans and Madoff.” – R 4000 #7. Perhaps you have short memory of what you wrote. Or perhaps we have different definitions for the word “only”. Either way, whatever floats your boat, I always say…

    “Choice comes only in a vote in once an election cycle” – agreed. Remind me again, what’s the election cycle in China?

    “original democracies didn’t have ballots, they used VOICES” – that’s nice. Too bad we’re no longer living in a time of “original” democracies. “Afterall, you said “people should have VOICE”, Literally! ” – I have kids in grade school, who tend to take things literally. Are you at grade school level too?

    “Chinese have a CHOICE.” – wrong. Better luck next time. Chinese HAD a choice; now, not so much.

  11. William Huang Says:

    @ S.K. Cheung #10

    You said: “Chinese HAD a choice;….”

    When was that?

  12. S.K. Cheung Says:

    To William:
    that was in reference to R4000 #9: “Chinese have a CHOICE. and they made it 60 years ago.” – that statement should really be in the past tense.

  13. Wukailong Says:

    @raventhorn4000 (#9): “You say Choice, and you only note “vote”. Well, Chinese have a CHOICE. and they made it 60 years ago. We called it the Civil War.”

    Actually, a common argument I’ve seen against democracy the last months is that its opponents care more about the “contents” of democracy rather than the rules. Still, all criticism I see against the system is almost always against the voting process. It’s like nothing else exist.

    Choice is certainly expanding in China… But there are still less choices, not only in terms of voting but also in what opinions can be expressed, what content can be read on the internet etc.

  14. colin Says:

    Mexico is really going down the sh*tter. For a country that shares borders with the richest country in the world, they should be a de-facto developed and rich country, not one plagued by corruption, drug cartels, uneducated labor, disease outbreaks, etc.


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