It would be nice to think that the 28 cases at the NY Prep School are it for the city and that the virus has been contained there. But that was always more a wish than a plausible reality:
CBS 2 HD has learned of a confirmed case of swine flu at the Ernst & Young headquarters in Times Square.
One of the staffers became ill over the weekend after coming into contact with a family member who had been exposed to the virus.
The staffer is said to be resting at home and the company believes, due to the virus’ 24-hour incubation period, that no one else at Ernst & Young was exposed. The company released a statement on Monday night:
“An employee in our offices at 5 Times Square was diagnosed on Sunday with swine flu, which she contracted from a family member. The individual had not been in offices since last Thursday. According to the Center for Disease Control, the disease has a 24-hour incubation period. Given the timeframe, we believe that it is unlikely that any other of our people have been infected.
“The health of our people is our foremost priority. Since learning of the diagnosis, we have followed the procedures outlined by the Center for Disease Control, including closing the offices on the floor where she worked and retaining a skilled sanitation service to clean the area. We have alerted our people and have told them to feel free to work from home if they would be more comfortable doing so. We have also notified the appropriate authorities.” (CBS2, NY)
As we keep looking, we will find cases, so the total will rise, probably on a daily basis. Like poll numbers, it is probably wise not to pay attention to daily fluctuations but look at the big picture. Right now the big picture isn’t visible, but with the passage of days or a week, it should become clearer. The current spate of cases could burn itself out as warmer weather ensues. Flu is a highly seasonal disease, for reasons we don’t understand. That wouldn’t mean we were home free, however. Wherever flu hides in the “off season” (flu does find work in the southern hemisphere’s winter), it can come back the following year. Those familiar with 1918 know there seems to have been a milder “herald wave” the previous spring which came back like a freight train in August. CDC is well aware of this possibility and should this outbreak wane will clearly urge and engage in continued preparation in the event this evolves in the same way.
If it evolves the same way. Influenza is a virus full of mystery and surprises. The more we study it the more complicated it becomes. Remember the adage: “If you’ve seen one flu pandemic, you’ve seen one flu pandemic.”