MURPHY: Swine flu is not a big deal

Have you been coughed or sneezed on lately?

If you answered yes, then you have swine flu. If you answered no, then chances are, you’re going to get swine flu.

Sure, I might be exaggerating a little, but who cares if you contract it?

Swine flu is not the big deal America has hyped it up to be.

Dr. Marc Lipsitch of Harvard University told Reuters.com that new estimates suggest the death rate of swine flu compares to a normal year of seasonal influenza.

Lipsitch added that he thinks we are in a Category 1 pandemic—normal for the seasonal flu.

To give you an idea of what this means, the Pandemic Severity Index set by the U.S. government has five categories: Category 1, the seasonal flu, has a mortality rate of about 0.1 percent.

However, the elderly make up most of this small percentage, as they are more easily affected by the flu.

A Category 5 would resemble the famous 1918 flu outbreak that killed millions.

At the time of the outbreak, people were walking around in gauze facemasks and little girls were jump roping to, “I had a little bird, its name was Enza, I opened the window and in-flu-enza.” Creepy, I know.

But fear not, students of Marquette, because while many of you have probably heard wild rumors about swine flu enrolling at Marquette, the handful of cases on campus haven’t all been confirmed.

It seems more people are turning into hypochondriacs than swine flu victims.

Despite the scarcity of the virus on campus, Marquette has taken the offensive to combat the swine flu by posting hygiene fliers all around campus.

I am assuming they are reaching out to those with the social etiquette of a Neanderthal because the flier gives a brief tutorial on how to cough, sneeze and wash our hands.

Hopefully, this will put a stop to the uncultivated people who walk around campus deliberately coughing and sneezing on people.

For those of you who are genuinely confused about what do to when confronted with a cough or sneeze in a public venue, then you may find the fliers helpful.

If you look at the sign, the stick figure looks more like a lollipop king performing a magic trick.

As you scan down the flier, there is also a picture-by-picture walk through about how to wash your hands.

So far, I have not seen or heard anyone look at the flier and say, “Oh! I thought you were supposed to eat the soap! I have been doing it wrong for the last 20 years!”

So while the Minnesota Department of Health surely meant well when they created these flyers, they were actually making things worse.

A: They wasted a bunch of paper (remember how going green used to be in).

B: They are making people worry more about a virus that is as deadly as the seasonal flu we deal with annually.

So let’s not fall into a panic and let swine flu take the attention off more important things, like Obama’s proposed health care reform, gray wolves being added to the endangered species list and the 2010 Cubs season.

Let’s look this disease right in the eye and say, “I eat pigs like you for breakfast.”