May 4th, 2009


Get Your Tapaboca On

Swine Flu Starts a Trend in Mexico: Face Masks (LA Times)

Newspapers here have carried graphics showing how to turn a piece of scrap cloth into a mask. Some people have tried to add a splash of personality by painting their masks with skeleton faces or colorful butterflies...The tapaboca phenomenon in Mexico has yielded some incongruous images: the motorist with face covered, though alone in his car; the couple aboard a motorcycle, masked but not wearing helmets; sunbathers wearing swimsuits and surgical masks.

Newspaper columnist Juan Villoro said the mask, by revealing only the eyes, added a touch of the exotic to Mexican life. "Those who are not good-looking at least have become mysterious," he quipped in Friday's edition of the Reforma newspaper

It's telling that this fad has been indulged in Japan for decades.



The World Health Organization seems to be softening people up for a move to Level 6, that is, calling H1N1  a pandemic.

Let's review:

Endemic means that a disease is native to a particular region. So what does pandemic mean?

Right. It's not a reference to the death count or severity of the outbreak. It's a reference to where H1N1 can be found. WHO is wise to spell this out for an information-hungry public ahead of time.

Meanwhile, check out this article (via H5N1 blog) SARS Sleuth Tracks H1N1, Criticizes WHO: One virus hunter's take on how important it is for WHO to accurately get their levels right during an outbreak.