Stay Safe From The H1N1 Mexican Swine Flu: Germophobia Is Good
Among famous figures who have been dyed in the wool germophobes we can include physics genius Nikola Tesla; entertainers Jerry Seinfeld and Howie Mandel; billionaires Donald Trump and Howard Hughes; even dictators Saddam Hussein and Adolf Hitler! I assure you that there is nothing I can possibly agree with Hitler or Saddam or even The Donald on, but when it comes to taking precautions bordering on the germophobic in the H1N1 age, I'm afraid that I have to concur.
The person standing or sitting next to you could be fully H1N1 contagious although to all outwards appearances, they look and act in a perfectly healthy manner!
Here are some examples of how many people you could run into close proximity on any given day:
Homemaker going shopping: 100
Worker on a commuter train for a day in the office: 400
Tourist spending a day sightseeing in a major city: 1,200
Sports fan in major league stadium: 1,500
Driver of a city bus: 1,800
Airline clerk at a major airport: 3,500
Concession stand worker in major league stadium: 8,500
Trade Show Exhibitor at major event: 15,000
Club-crawler in Manhattan: 20,000
Visitor to the major Las Vegas Casinos: 34,000
Now let's do a little math. Let's assume that each one of these people is out and about performing those activities for ten hours a day. And let us also assume that at the time of calculation, the world is in the midst of a WHO Level 6, full-blast H1N1 pandemic.
Here are the odds on arriving back home at the end of that day after having duly been exposed to infection (no, junior mathematicians, let's not get into precise statistical deviations. . . this is just a rudimentary approximation):
Homemaker going shopping: 1 to 1 (50/50 chance)
Worker on a commuter train for a day in the office: 1 to 4
Tourist spending a day sightseeing in a major city: 1 to 12
Sports fan in major league stadium: 1 to 15
Driver of a city bus: 1 to 18
Airline clerk at a major airport: 1 to 35
Concession stand worker in major league stadium: 1 to 85
Trade Show Exhibitor at major event: 1 to 150
Club-crawler in Manhattan: 1 to 200
Visitor to the major Las Vegas Casinos: 1 to 340
Now especially for the visitor to the Las Vegas casinos, I'm sure that they would never place in their right minds make a bet of a single dollar where the chances of winning were one and their chances of losing were three hundred and nineteen! The worst bet in Vegas is Any Seven on a Craps table where the Casino advantage is 16.7%. That means that if you bet one dollar 100 consecutive times on Any Seven, the odds are you'll only have $83.30 at the end. 1 to 340 is an advantage (or disadvantage to you) of 99.7%! That's like betting one dollar 100 consecutive times and ending up with about 25 cents!
So why would they bet their lives on the same odds? We're not talking about catching a minor cold in this instance. H1N1 isn't your typical minor flu bug that gives you the sniffles and aches and pains for a few days and then goes away. Some medical pandemic experts estimate that it could cause the death of over 5% of the entire population of the world. That's about four times the number of people that lost their lives in World War I and World War II combined.
Believe me, you don't want to be one of them.
You are not a germophobic Howie Mandel-clone who even refuses to shake hands with other people if you practice reasonable safety precautions.
You'll be laughing last!
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