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Paranoia and the Aporkalypse

May 1, 2009

From the Washington Post, a story about how the legitimate fear of the swine flu exists alongside a growing and outsized paranoia about the illness:

Amid fears of an approaching aporkalypse, the most contagious disease this week — at least for a small, hyper-aware portion of the population — was paranoia. It struck locations such as Union Station’s Tschiffely Pharmacy, where containers of hand sanitizer were moved from the back shelf to the front cash register. Travel-size bottles sold out yesterday; the store was also doing brisk business in hospital masks…

It’s so easy to contract paranoia. It just takes one errant glance at a headline before you begin thinking, Has co-worker Bob always had allergies? He says it’s allergies, but . . . didn’t he honeymoon in Mexico? Why is he HERE, breathing all over the place?! I hate Bob.

We are being ridiculous. We know we are being ridiculous. We cannot stop being ridiculous.

But with each new reported case of the flu, an old germaphobe is validated, and a new one is born.

“I went and looked up my symptoms about an hour ago,” says Matthew Baldwin, a Seattle programmer. “I knew I was a little hung over, and I also had had a cold with a persistent cough.” He wanted “to lay all my symptoms out on the table and see if there were any left unaccounted for.” Symptoms that might belong . . . to swine flu.

After careful evaluation, Baldwin determined that he was not sick, and felt a little sheepish that he’d even bothered to worry.

One Comment leave one →
  1. john permalink
    May 1, 2009 9:48 am

    The Media is loving it nothing sells better than fear.

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