There are only about 100 cases of swine flu confirmed in the US so far, but nearly 300 schools have shut down to prevent its spread. Fort Worth, Texas has ONE student with the swine flu, but has shut down the entire system for 10 days. This, in a country where nearly half of workers don't have any paid sick days, and many of those who do have paid sick time aren't allowed to use it to care for a family member.
But, not to worry, Vice President Biden "said he hoped U.S. employers 'will be generous' in allowing parents to take time off to keep their children home if there has been a confirmed case of flu at their school.”
“Fort Worth officials urged parents not to send their children to day care or 'any venue where groups of children may gather' and pleaded with the employers and the general population to make it possible for parents to accommodate this request.
"This is indeed an example of how the community can rally to support the health and well-being of students, their families and the District," schools superintendent Melody Johnson told reporters.”
I can write a report or take a conference call from home, but you can't cook and serve a restaurant meal, clean a hotel room, or care for a sick patient from home. So what's going to happen? Some parents will bring their kids to work. Older kids may be left at home alone unsupervised. Some parents will stay home, lose wages, and maybe not be able to afford to get their prescription filled this month, or will fall a little further behind on the electric bill. But no one will point fingers at Ms. Johnson when a 12 year old left home alone sets a piece of toast on fire.
N has had a nasty cough the last few days, but no fever. I'm 99.9 percent sure that it's allergies, but we've kept him home anyway, because there's not much downside to him missing a couple of days of preschool. But there are real costs to closing schools, and I think it's hysterical overreaction to do so without any evidence that this is worse than an ordinary flu.