Last updateFri, 22 Jan 2021 1pm

A decade-old pandemic that began in Mexico – did we learn from it?

It has been said that people have a very short memory for weather—hurricanes, blizzards and the like.

pg6aCould this also be true for epidemics? Surely Covid-19 will be long remembered for its medical and social effects. But what about H1N1/09, often called Swine Flu and occasionally Mexican Flu (because it probably started at a swine ranch in Veracruz state in 2009)? 

An M.D. who lived in Guadalajara then, remembers that H1N1-related flight cancellations stranded her husband abroad, that the May 1 to 5 puente holiday was a disaster for hotels, that people wore masks for a few days, and then H1N1 was controlled “or perhaps didn’t get the attention it deserved.”

I remember it for several reasons. One, it was the occasion for learning about Vitamin D, which turned out to be efficacious in preventing the bad gripas I had been suffering in Mexico. 

Also, H1N1 resulted in the hospital death of an elderly friend, according to his wife, and in the temporary closure of a business where I worked, along with mask wearing and Guadalajara streets as empty as now. 

All cause for eye-rolling on my part. I was sure the reaction to H1N1 was overboard, and justified my mistrust of health authorities. Like some leaders now, I thought if I ignored the virus, it would go away. And it did.

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