Three Things We Should Ask About Swine Flu

From the London Times

Churches stood empty in Mexico City yesterday and football matches were played to vacant stadiums, as soldiers and health workers patrolled the subway in an effort to prevent the spread of a deadly strain of swine flu.

If suddenly there was a large epidemic brought on by an outbreak swine flu what would be your first reaction? Many people would begin to escape the infected city in fear of their own lives. However, as Catholics where would we be called to be?

Hospitals may overcrowd. Medicines might be at a premium–putting the rich in a favorable position over the poor. Care for a large number of people effected by the outbreak may become a huge issue.

So where does that call us as Catholics who regard human life in all its precariousness as the ultimate?

Some may say, let’s worry about this when and if swine flu becomes a huge issue. But by that time, it’s too late and many of us may let panic overwhelm us. So I suggest three things for us to consider:

1) Prepare for the worst: Pick an agency and ask them about safe ways you can participate in helping them if the flu should become a huge problem in your area. While this isn’t problem at the moment, hospitals and other organizations may be in need of mobilized help. Most of all, don’t run for higher ground and abandon people. Will we be there for those in need? What will it say about us if we don’t?

2) Think about the poor: Where might poor people who don’t have the same access to be during an outbreak? Thinking about how one might assist agencies who might serve their needs is something to consider. When one man from England returned home from Mexico on Saturday with mild flu-like symptoms, he was told to stay at home so as not to spread the disease. NHS Direct dropped off doses of Tamiflu for him and his two children, during and epidemic or pandemic these deliveries may be paramount–especially to the poor who undoubtedly will get second rate attention in bad neighborhoods. Moreover, in a pandemic, things get crazier:

“I think there will be little bit of a lift for pharmaceuticals, but this may not follow through unless the situation gets out of hand,” said Paul Kavanagh of stockbroker Killik & Co .
“Governments will be looking at vaccines, but it’s come at a bad time for the world economy and could be very expensive.”

3) Contribute to local economies: The outbreak could wind up dealing a terrible blow to Mexico’s economy. Which by the way also serves our own self interest because Mexico is one of the United States’ largest trading partners. Calling companies to ease up in various ways such as the airlines have done, including American, United, Continental, US Airways, Mexicana and Air Canada, who have waived their usual penalties for changing reservations for anyone traveling to, from or through Mexico.

Think about it. Where are we called to be during a pandemic?

Hat tip to Deacon Greg and the London Times for the pic.

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