Calm Down About The New Swine Flu (But Don’t Totally Ignore It)
There's a new swine flu being monitored that's spreading across Chinese pig farms. Chinese researchers say it has, "All the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus," but that it doesn't pose a problem. White House COVID-19 advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said something similar. He said it has the ability to adapt but so far hasn't infected a human yet. The virus' full science-y name is "G4 EA H1N1" and is a direct hit on most Battleship board layouts.
The "H1N1" at the end might sound familiar to you if you've still got some lingering pandemic panic from when the original swine flu infected 60.8 million people worldwide staring in 2009. It's got a little of the O.G. swine flu in it, with some other goodies mixed in. It's best to think of the currently infected pigs as a big cocktail shaker filled with a variety of influenza strains that have been shaken to a fine froth. There's even a little bit of the flu from the 1918 Influenza Pandemic (which many modern flus do) mixed in. The new swine flu has a deep appreciation for its flu heritage.
It's still firmly in the "keep an eye on it" phase, and there's definitely no need to panic about it. Yet. Look, none of us could have predicted that most of 2020 would be ruined by bat shit. Anything is possible. A pig virus swooping into to take out the rest of us doesn't seem so farfetched. Learning that the viruses are working together to take over the world would fit right in with this rest of the crazy bullshit we wake up to every day.
But as long as the experts say there's nothing to worry about, I'm going to do that. As the BBC notes, "Current flu vaccines do not appear to protect against it, although they could be adapted to do so if needed." So, I'm just going to keep worrying about one viral pandemic at a time and you should too until a second one has us cornered, and we're firing our large machine guns at it shouting "THERE'S TOO MANY OF THEM!"
Luis can be found on Twitter and Facebook. Catch him on the "In Broad Daylight" podcast with Cracked alums Adam Tod Brown and Ian Fortey! Check out his regular contributions to Macaulay Culkin's BunnyEars.com and his "Meditation Minute" segments on the Bunny Ears podcast. Listen to the first episode on Youtube!
Top Image: Pascal Debrunner/Unsplash, CDC