Well, at some level, you should be worrying now. This is serious. But there are a lot of other things you should be worried about as well, such as the nuclear threat and, if you live in tornado alley, tornadoes. But when do you have to start paying attention to current information, bulletins, and so on, and to perhaps start planning to alter your behavior (like, not going to Mexico, or wearing around a mask and staying in the house, or perhaps something in between)?
The World Health Organization (WHO) has a threat level system. The lowest threat level is 1, the highest is at 6. The good news is that we are currently only at level 3, which means you should not be worried. The bad news is that some experts think we should be at level 4 already, and as far as I can tell they are correct. Which may make us worry about WHO more than it does about the flu…
Level 3 means that there is no or limited human to human transmission of a flu virus. Since the vast majority of flu viruses are non-human, and the most dangerious ones to humans are those that primarily originate from non humans, or have genetic components that originated from non-humans and are able to spread form humans to humans, as the amount of human to human spread increases the threat level goes up.
So Level 4 is for “increased” human to human spread, and Level 5 is “significant” human to human transmission. We are probably at level 4 because there are apparently dozens of human cases of fatal results out of hundreds (a few hundred, perhaps) cases of a novel flu virus.
It is also notable that this flu affects those who are most likely to be immune or resistant to the more run of the mill flu viruses. This is the hallmark of a new genetic combination that humans are are highly susceptible to.
But even at level 4, you should probably not worry too much. Rather, you should be concerned about the possibility that you will have to start worrying soon, maybe. This could fizzle out over the next couple of weeks, or it could expand. If we go to Level 5, start to worry. If we get to Level 6, put on the mask.
I recommend subscribing to the RSS feeds of a couple of sites: