Swine Flu pandemic over in Mumbai

Or so the State Government would have us believe. And the fickle Indian print and TV news media circus. Where the headlines three days ago were about how we are plunging headlong into the greatest pandemic of all times. And three days later ?
The Malls and the Cinema halls are open again. The week long order to close schools is over. The Media has found a new obsession in Shah Rukh Khan’s 90 minute questioning by US immigration.
So is the pandemic over ? Is the State Government saying that it is safe now to go into the Cinema’s and Malls. In three days ??? Or was the original order that created such a panic in Mumbai completely not thought out ? Just a casual knee jerk to gain political mileage ? Should the government not come out with a statement to it’s citizens ?
It probably is so muddled that it does not have one.
The word on the streets is that while the police went around closing some Malls, others were left open. Why was that ? The word on the street also is that it depended on how much the Malls paid. Paid who ?

24 Responses to “Swine Flu pandemic over in Mumbai”

  1. Ganesh says:

    Shekar,
    You have raised valid issues on this topic. I definitely believe that we are sitting on a time bomb in India to prevent this flu from spreading(given our population density).
    Not just media but politicians and all of us must focus to work towards bringing down the threat level from SWINE FLU.
    Hope we all focus on this eradication from our country.
    Ganesh

  2. Anuradha says:

    Is there no way to get our media to be a little more sensible, reasonable? As a doctor, I do feel very disturbed that people are panicking so much, some private hospitals have already started making lots of ‘hay’, while the ‘sun’ shines!!!! You need to meet the ‘in house’ physician, consultations are double!!! Time & again I am reminded of ‘phir bhi dil hi hindustani’, the movie was way ahead of its time & media truly is making a fool of people. Pay who else shekhar… the whole bloody nexus of police, media & politicians… we all know,… we all have to act dumb… we all have to endure… be a part of the system!!!!
    Just one comment about the Shahrukh episode… let us all be honest, I too simply hate the thought of laying my bag/ purse with some very personal belongings open in front of strange people at 5 star hotels, airports, malls that to in front of all other people… if, if only I had some way of by passing it, I certainly would feel less violated. So may be for someone like him it may have felt really outrageous to be asked to step aside when you have traveled umpteen number of times. Can all of us behave very calm, composed all the time? Anyways, the purpose of me bringing up this point here is again the irresponsibility & deviant behavior of media who ‘provoke’ people like Salman or Harbhajan to give comments, probably when they have no complete understanding of the situation or edit their words so cleverly that you have some animosity brewing there!!! How sick & cheap can these journalists be??? I used to think very highly of NDTV& CNN IBN but they too seem to be succumbing to peer pressure!!!

  3. shekhar says:

    Anuradha, as a doctor, could you give us a personal view on the Swine Flu pandemic in Mumbai ? Just to give us a reality check ?
    shekhar

  4. AJ says:

    I watched the news while I in Mumbai and knowing the facts, reality, hillarious …
    Hats off to Indian media
    cashing on everything
    and blowing out of proportions
    FYI,
    no one knows and won’t talk …
    Let us wait until winter …

  5. Arun says:

    The flu is still spreading, and it’s going places – all over. See the map – http://www.swineflu-india.org/swine_flu/map.aspx

  6. KS says:

    I would ask the same question as Dr. Anuradha above. Is there no way to control the media? first the aussie attack then swine flu then shah rukh obsession. Can there be no moderation over what needs to be told and where to draw the line?
    And though i can relate to Shah rukh. what happened to him is a security procedure. As some one who has lost a friend in 9/11. I understand the need for such checks deeply. Why should any one care who you are. What if a French superstar was visiting India..would they identify him?
    Lets all get over this..

  7. Anna (Paris) says:

    Simple Everyday steps to protect oneself from Novel H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu). Please spread the message as it is said prevention is better than cure…
    (a)Wash hands regularly with soap.All the more if
    you have come in close contact with a sick
    person to avoid spread of germs.
    (b)Donot touch the hands of a person suffering
    from cold,fever etc etc.Donot stand within 1
    meter radius from the person who has cold.Try
    to avoid close contact with sick people till
    its proved that they are suffering from just
    seasonal flu
    (c)Wear masks,surgical one also will do.
    (d)Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when
    you cough or sneeze. Throw tissue after use in
    a covered dustbin.
    (e)For pregnant women,elderly people or If
    you have severe illness or you are at high risk
    for flu complications,contact your health care
    center or Doctor.

  8. mani says:

    Indian Medical world is never prepared for any sort of pandemic or any type of new viruses.
    We may be land of some good doctors but we certainly not land of good medical research or innovations.
    Even India’s top private medical centre “Apollo” refused to accept/treat swine flu patients but later they agreed. This is the state of India’s medical system. Unlike in the west if this type of mistreatment is found there will be several ” Law suits” against the hospital and the administration.
    We hardly give importance to human death when it comes to pandemic like Swine flu, AIDS/Cancer etc compared to West.
    Media instead of educating the public went on to report the bad side of this new virus called H1N1 flu, swine flu, hog flu, and pig flu which still is resulting in scaring public.
    We also have Union Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azads making statement, that Reeda Sheikh(one of the first swine flu patient in india) was responsible for the entry of swine flu in India. If we have such kind of ministers heading the Health department what can we expect.
    Thanks
    Mani
    Canada

  9. Snigdha says:

    Media definately plays its role of both educating and over exposing people to see things beyond their scope of understanding.
    The state of panic created is hysterical. For sure the virus is in air and we all need to be extra careful esp as even WHO does not expect the swine flu vaccine to be widely available until the end of 2009! Keep safe till then atleast 🙂

  10. Sir,
    Why would not Media interfere and take opportunity of weak and poor administration and corrupt bureaucracy. We have a bad history of natural calamities and other public issues been hijacked by over zealous TRP hungry Media. Why forget the upcoming State elections in Maharashtra as early as October.
    Vinod Agarwal – Witness to Dahi Handi celebrations defying the H1N1

  11. ungher says:

    perhaps to put it in perspective, lets imagine tom cruise visitng India….can we imagine any Indian official even trying to stop ‘the Tom’ or asking him any questions?
    They would be falling over each other trying to get him through as soon as possible.
    Perhaps this brings to light another angle , of our fascination with gora chamdi and goras disdain for our wheatish one.

  12. Anuradha says:

    Shekhar, I live in Bangalore, incidentally I am a gynaec, but H1N1 is like any viral infection, airborne, just take simple steps to maintain hygiene & avoid direct contact with infected persons. I am just cut pasting a mail I received from a Physician
    My Dear All,
    I agree with you that swine flu awareness is needed, but there is no need to be panicky and join the publicity propaganda carried out by media and others which acts as a vehicle to spread misconception than to spread scientific information.
    These are few facts about swine flu when discussed with the leading epidemiologists.
    1) Swine flu, that is H1N1 flu is not new, first detected in 1987
    2) Infective stage of flue is 5 days, 1 day before and 4 days after onset of symptoms
    3) The best way to prevent it spreading is asking patient having symptoms of flu like fever cough and running nose to take rest at home for 4 days so he does not transmit it
    4) Masks are of limited value if any, in this disease, it can spread through droplets on your skin, through contact etc, and I have seen that the masks in Pune are worn as fashion statement, while walking on road today morning I saw people wearing masks coming out for a morning walk with their dogs!, many wearing masks around their necks, and so on, infect these masks shall act as the vehicles to carry the virus, instead, avoiding crowded places or cinema halls or malls where air conditioners are on, is advisable, because you get recalculated air, where the virus density multiplies
    5)Death after H1N1 flu is not common, infect infections like measles is taking toll of thousands more every year, and we are oblivious of the facts. Swine flu is being blown out of proportion by media trying to create hysteria among lay people.
    6) Fever accompanied by respiratory distress, should be immediately notified which is likely to be a complication of H1N1 flu
    7)The mortality is less than .01 percent of those affected, that means may be one in 10,000 affected is likely to suffer the life loss.
    8) If you remember, 2 years ago SARS was blown out of proportion, what happened? Humans develop immunity to the virus, the same is going to happen, we develop immunity in due course of time, the virus is in the air, you can not stop it, our body is already developing the immunity so nothing to panic.
    We need to take care of children and elderly who have less immunity and do not let them go to crowded places that are all.
    WE MUST START THIS CAMPAIGN OF NOT TO BE AFRAID OF THIS FLU AND LET YOUR DAILY WORK CONTINUE AS NORMAL, NO MASKS FOR ORDINARY CITIZENS, HEALTH CARE WORKERS OR SPECIFIC EXPOSED TO LOT OF CROWDED ENVIRONMENTS MAY BE BENEFITTED, NOT PROVEN.
    I am amazed to hear that people are selling masks of RS 20 each which are available to less than Rupee 1 in the market.
    See who is getting benefitted?
    Please spread the scientific info, do not join the band wagon and stick to science, that should be the order of the day.
    Regards
    Dr Loknath Kumar
    I would just like to emphasise on two points here the WRONG use of masks, the latest I heard was the price of masks had gone up to 100 bucks!!
    Another interesting point to ponder over, don’t know how right or authentic this info is, but someone was talking about how even the pharma industry could have a role to play in this, where in they discreetly participate in spreading different strains so as to boost the sales of certain drugs…. why are we deteriorating so much…

  13. brahmastra says:

    India is in a critical need of strong leadership from someone like Modi. The private news channels need to be fully regulated and monitored, and hopefully, even shutdown.
    Moreover, it is a huge drain on people’s energies to be exposed to so much useless misinformation every moment. It shakes the stillness of the mind.
    Just like in the western countries, privatisation of such industries will undoubtedly create a greedy frankenstein where ethics and honesty will take a backseat.
    The corporations will sell you poison for food and poison for medicine if they can only market it the right way and create the necessary brand consciousness. The media has become a mere tool for such means.
    This hype about swine flu could very well be a marketing ploy for pharma targeting over a billion potential customers. This wretched strategy of pharmaceutical companies has reached extremely dark dimensions in western countries especially in the case of mental health drugs which are an extremely easy sell because the mind can be said to be abnormal at any time for anyone. To see India moving in a similiar direction should be a source of great trepidation. It is upto influential people as yourself to address these issues.

  14. Manav says:

    Shekhar,
    there are some vaccines available at a much cheaper cost now in US, which can be made available shortly in US which India Govt. should be considering for long term.
    I will send you some more information shortly where it is available and how you can get it.,.,
    Manav

  15. p says:

    I am a physician practicing in the US and the novel HINI vaccine is not yet ready. It is expected to be ready in the fall.I am not sure what vaccine Manav is refering to. The seasonal influenza will be offered as it is every year in the flu season.
    In fact we offer the influenza vaccine to 5 yrs or younger and 65 or older. The H1N1 will be offered to the above grp, school going children and people aged 25- 65 as the virus seems to have a prediliction for this age grp.
    Stay safe.

  16. Shashi says:

    Dear Dr. Anuradha,
    Thank you for posting that info about swine flu. However, there were a few things I wanted to highlight about the matter.
    1) Swine flu IS NEW. I don’t know who is spreading such info, but going by the World Health Organisation (WHO) it is in fact a new virus. Here is what the WHO says ” But influenza A(H1N1) is a new virus and one to which most people have no or little immunity and, therefore, this virus could cause more infections than are seen with seasonal flu”. You can read more about that at the WHO site whose link is http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/about_disease/en/index.html
    2)The mortality is NOT LESS than 0.01 percent. Current figures from WHO indicate 1462 deaths from 177457 cases worldwide, which is a mortality of 0.823 percent. Current figures from India are 29 deaths out of 1928 confirmed cases. That is a mortality of 1.5% in India. That means 150 deaths out of 10,000 people and 15 million deaths out of 1 billion. For the latest figures you can check our website http://www.swinefluindia.com where appropriate sources have been mentioned.
    3) The risk here is that our nation’s health services will be overwhelmed if a full blown epidemic occurs. And given the huge magnitude of our nation the chances of that happening in India are very high in my opinion. Even though you catch a cold and have fever of 102 (normal flu) you still need to see a doctor. The number of doctors in this country are limited and the number of hours in a day are 24. In case of a full blown epidemic of even normal flu, the health services will be overwhelmed and will in turn affect every aspect of our life. There is no electricity in my home, why? The electrician is down with flu. And since this is a new virus, the chances of it spreading quickly are high if appropriate attention is not paid.
    I am not asking people to get hysterical, but please be alert, educated and aware.
    Shekhar,
    Good to know that you blog regularly. It would be great if you had RSS feeds for your blog.
    thanks!

  17. Shashi says:

    Dear Dr. Anuradha,
    Thank you for posting that info about swine flu. However, there were a few things I wanted to highlight about the matter.
    1) Swine flu IS NEW. I don’t know who is spreading such info, but going by the World Health Organisation (WHO) it is in fact a new virus. Here is what the WHO says ” But influenza A(H1N1) is a new virus and one to which most people have no or little immunity and, therefore, this virus could cause more infections than are seen with seasonal flu”. You can read more about that at the WHO site whose link is http://www.who.int/csr/disease/swineflu/frequently_asked_questions/about_disease/en/index.html
    2)The mortality is NOT LESS than 0.01 percent. Current figures from WHO indicate 1462 deaths from 177457 cases worldwide, which is a mortality of 0.823 percent. Current figures from India are 29 deaths out of 1928 confirmed cases. That is a mortality of 1.5% in India. That means 150 deaths out of 10,000 people and 15 million deaths out of 1 billion. For the latest figures you can check our website http://www.swinefluindia.com where appropriate sources have been mentioned.
    3) The risk here is that our nation’s health services will be overwhelmed if a full blown epidemic occurs. And given the huge magnitude of our nation the chances of that happening in India are very high in my opinion. Even though you catch a cold and have fever of 102 (normal flu) you still need to see a doctor. The number of doctors in this country are limited and the number of hours in a day are 24. In case of a full blown epidemic of even normal flu, the health services will be overwhelmed and will in turn affect every aspect of our life. There is no electricity in my home, why? The electrician is down with flu. And since this is a new virus, the chances of it spreading quickly are high if appropriate attention is not paid.
    I am not asking people to get hysterical, but please be alert, educated and aware.
    Shekhar,
    Good to know that you blog regularly. It would be great if you had RSS feeds for your blog.
    thanks!

  18. DQ says:

    Hey!! Shekhar
    .
    Howz ‘U’
    .
    Psst…Missed ‘U’
    .
    you sense innocence caught in the crossfire of unnecessary violence. And finally you come away with a great sense of the pointlessness of it all.
    .
    Brilliantly said….
    .
    Myself was in a different kind of journey within…which makes one feel…So POinTless!!
    .
    Hey Im back okie!!
    Chayei nahi pilayengei aap?
    .
    Errm KanJOOSSs
    Eh heh
    Hugsss

  19. DQ says:

    ***’Brahmastra’***
    .
    Well said!
    .
    Cheers!

  20. austere says:

    Unpredictable.
    Even so, once it mutates.
    Immunity enhancers from our traditional systems?

  21. shweta says:

    hello shekhar
    i must admit that i too am scared of this pandemic. but that does not supress the fact that media is blowing it out of proportions. what i dont understand is why the govt ever closed down the malls and theatres for a mere three days. can anyone control a pandemic in that short a time. even a normal flu takes 7 days to get absolutely cured. spread the right messages people!!
    i have read a lot about this virus and what i found most relieving was that it is perfectly curable. once you find flu like symptoms, you simply get yourself checked and swine flu or otherwise, go on the right medication. so all that we all need to do is stay alert. panicking never helps.
    as for what happened with shah rukh khan in US is something that has perplexed me a great deal. why such a fuss over a routine investigation. and to hear what shah rukh khan had to say about this is even more pitiable. from what i have read, he seems to feel keenly for the same sufferings that all other innocent people have to endure daily. i know that he is an educated man so he should have come up with something better. rather than playing with the soft emotions of a billion people who absolutely dote on him. this was routine, and he should have cooperated amiably. he alone could have helped in getting this matter over with then and there itself.
    as for our media, they are so busy in competing with each other, they forget they are here for the people. they no longer seem to remember what an important role they play in our lives. i can only hope they learn to utilize their medium in a better way.
    so its for us, the general public, to stay alert and correctly informed. and spread the right msgs. if the media cant do that well enough, lets all of us make this effort.
    shweta,
    hyderabad

  22. It’s really nice to read it, but you have to work on your style a bit 😉 Cheers!

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