The Associated Press is reporting that Wall Street banks, among a variety of other businesses throughout New York, have received shipments of the hard to find H1N1 flu vaccine. The firms got access to the vaccine because they have their own staff doctors, and plan to dole out vaccinations to those employees who most need them: the elderly, people under 24, pregnant women, and the most high risk cases of all – middle aged white dudes who took home 7 figure bonuses for fucking up their jobs in a manner that no one would have even thought possible three years ago.

Before we all shit ourselves, it’s not a ton of doses – 1,200 in all between Goldman and Citigroup – but it does seem like a waste to inoculate Wall Street bankers, as your average Wall Street employee is a sub-human reptile monster whose icy blood is already a poor breeding ground for the H1N1 flu virus.

While we’re on the topic, though, a nod must go in the direction of Morgan Stanley. The investment bank received 1,000 doses of the vaccine, but returned it to the CDC when it became clear that they had received their shipment before the local hospital. And OK, they probably only did it to avoid a PR kerfuffle and not look like the craven, dog hearted fiends at Goldman and Citigroup, who sustain themselves on the suffering of humanity. But they did it, and the bar for these guys is so low at this point, that is enough to earn kudos.

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What, you ask, will be the next victim of the dreaded A/H1N1 swine flu? Why it’s the nascent US economic recovery, of course, which will have it’s young life snuffed out as the highly contagious pox applies it’s sturdy, pestilent boot to the throat of the holiday tourism and travel industries.

The theory goes that should people get infected, or just get nervous enough about getting infected, with A/H1N1 flu, that rather than fly out to Aunt Dottie’s for a plague wracked Christmas with the family, people will stay comfortably in their homes, whacked to the gills on nog and Robitussin, giggling softly at the yule log burning away on the television set.

This is a bad thing for the economy, because these legions of happy, healthy, mildly fucked up people will not be buying plane tickets or shopping at Pottery Barn or facing wracking intestinal spasms after a family meal at Old Country Buffet. And that’s BAD FOR AMERICA! It could soften GDP numbers for the all important Fourth Quarter by as much as 1%, which means that next year, instead of Christmas, we will all simply gather around trash can fires and reminisce about the times before the total collapse of the world economic system, and instead of presents, we will just ask Santa to keep us safe from the roving gangs of bikers as who stride the barren wastelands of America like horrific pagan gods.

Is that what you want, you cowardly bunch of drug addicts?

On top of tourism worries, there are concerns that productivity will suffer as employers, many of whom are already working with skeleton crews, will not be able to keep up with increased holiday demand should employees begin calling out sick, crippling American business with their shiftlessness and cough syrup induced hallucinatory shenanigans.

Which is an utterly reasonable concern, considering that I have every intention of calling in flu ridden and spending the birthday of our lord and savior zonked out of my gourd on Nyquil at a matinee of Sherlock Holmes.

Good news for everybody who doesn’t have A/H1N1 swine flu yet -recent studies suggest that just one low dose of the vaccine could stop you from contracting the highly contagious but so far mostly mild strain of flu. Isn’t that awesome? Now instead of dying in your sickbed, you can live to see the total collapse of society brought about by legions of sniffling rioters who didn’t get vaccines.

Sure, it’s a mixed blessing, but look on the bright side – at least you won’t fall victim to some filthy animal disease.

The Evergreen State has H1N1 flu all over the damned place! Washington State University saw as many as 2,500 cases of…something. Something we’re not going to finish testing in every case.But for the sake of argument, let’s just call it swine flu.

And this weekend, the biggest gamer convention on the west coast turned into a plague house, with PAX attendees coming down with the flu just in time to get on a plane and spread it to a town near you.

For those of you who are playing the ‘Swine Flu Freakout Game’ at home, the time to panic is… now!

Do you ever have that sinking feeling that your best effort – isn’t quite good enough?

This would seem very much to be the case concerning global efforts to combat the spread of the A/H1N1 influenza virus – that’s swine flu if your feeling nasty. Since it roared onto the scene months ago, the A/H1N1 virus has continued spreading unabated across the world. So what’s being done to make sure this thing doesn’t get out of hand? Are we hiring help to take the stress off of the embattled school nurses who will be on the front lines when the US school year starts? Or making sure at risk groups like parents of school aged kids get vaccinated?

Nah. We’re making sure all the really important flu prevention techniques are hitting the ground running. Like lame browser video games and homemade YouTube PSAs.

So when your major metro area is shut down by swine flu in the coming months, just remember – we couldn’t have done any better. And that is incredibly pitiful.

Who is America’s front line defense against the swine flu pandemic?

Legions of underpaid, overworked school nurses who are often responsible for overseeing the health of hundreds or thousands of children on their own.

I don’t know about you, but the knowledge that the most serious potential health crisis in recent history will be managed on the ground by a group of people who, in my experience, find it vexing to administer care for injuries related to falling off the monkey bars makes me feel safer already.

The New York Times is reporting that more than 120 American soldiers stationed in Iraq are thought to have come down with or be carrying the A/H1N1 swine flu virus that continues to spread at alarming rates throughout the world.

Iraq has been exceedingly wary of the A/H1N1 virus, sending health teams to meet international flights and quarantining passengers showing symptoms of swine flu. But US soldiers who aren’t subjected to these screenings represent a gaping hole in Iraqi defense against the virus. And with this news, it appears the other sick, coughing boot has finally dropped on the matter.

So despite it’s best precautions, Iraq can probably expect it’s first domestic case of swine flu in the coming weeks, probably to be followed by a slew of stories about how ill prepared for an epidemic the nation is. Cases of swine flu have a certain cockroach like quality to them – when you see one, you’ve got a lot more you don’t know about. And if more than 100 soldiers are suspected of having swine flu, it’s a safe bet that one of the many members of the Iraqi military and police they come in contact with on a daily basis has become a vector for the disease, too.

Which is – you guessed it! –  more bad news for Iraqis, who at this point should, frankly, really be used to it.