Last spring I was cynical when my students and I received pandemic kits from the Illinois Faith-Based Emergency Preparedness Initiative. Illinois received $20 million from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and used it to fund grants to African-American and Latino churches for “preparedness information and resources”. At the time it looked to me like a sneaky way to get around the constitutional separation of church and state and give money to particular religions, but I took the chocolate energy bar out of the kit, ate it, and kept my mouth shut.
Now my Mexican students tell me that Mexico City is shut down. School has been canceled and nobody went to mass Sunday. Where there used to be crowds, the streets are deserted, and those who do go out are wearing masks. Sitting in a Mexican restaurant last night, I watched non-stop news coverage of “Gripe Mortal” on Univision. So far there are 149 dead, some 1900 hospitalized, and masks being passed out everywhere. Today the Mexican government closed all restaurants, except for take-out. Take-out?
Hmm. Maybe it’s time to check my pandemic kit and see what’s in it. Here’s the inventory:
whistle made in China on a green rope
Coast Guard approved packet of drinking water (recommended: 4 packets per day)
packet of tissues
small box with band aides, gauze pad, towelette, alcohol preps, and ibuprofen (with an expiration date of 3-2009–oopsie!)
plastic bag with hand sanitizer, hand wipes, more alcohol wipes, disposable thermometers, a pair of gloves, and 2 masks
Yay. I’ve got masks. And I’ve got the government pandemic website.
But I’ve still got one question. If you got President Ford’s swine flu vaccine back in 1976, and did not die suddenly or become paralyzed from Guillain-Barre Syndrome at the time, are you still protected?