When Robin McMullin heard about the swine flu outbreak in Mexico, her heart sank. She had planned to celebrate her graduation from nursing school with a trip to an all-inclusive resort in Cancun.
“When we called our online travel agency to cancel, they told us we’d lose almost half what we paid for the trip,” she says. “The news told everyone to cancel their travel to Mexico but our agent won’t let us. Why?”
Ah, the news. Did we really say that?
True, the State Department recommended Americans “avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico” because of H1N1. Vice President Joe Biden’s comment about staying off planes and avoiding enclosed spaces didn’t help, either. And yeah, the media coverage was a little over-the-top. But I don’t recall anyone telling travelers to cancel all of their upcoming Mexico vacations in such an open-ended way.
Fact is, H1N1 peaked in Mexico shortly after I heard from McMullin. Some regions even took the extraordinary step of claiming they were disease-free. For example, the Los Cabos Convention & Visitors Bureau and the state of Baja California Sur issued a statement that they’re “pleased to announce that the region has remained free of contamination.”
So maybe Swine flu was nothing more than mass hysteria. I probably could have guessed that at the start of this whole episode, since at least three H1N1 symptoms — pain, dizziness and confusion — are experienced every day by many of my journalism colleagues as they do their darnedest to bring you all the news that’s fit to print. I’m actually feeling a little light-headed as I write this.
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