Everyone got to practice what they would do in an emergency. We have a lot of good data about what works, and what doesn't. (Picture of April 27 Newsday front page from Gawker review of the 1976 swine flu.)
The medical teams get pretty high marks but we still have some work to do on communication. Media performance, worldwide, was poor.
We can start that work now, because as hard as it can be to make people take a new flu bug seriously, it can be even harder to make them stop panicking after the emergency is over.
In terms of emergency, this one is over. The present flu strain is no worse than any typical seasonal flu. If you happen to get it bed rest and liquids should take care of it. See your doctor and they might prescribe an anti-viral. Don't cough on people.
Now, about the panic. I am due to head for China in a little over two weeks, so this is important. Quarantining me because I'm American won't help, although I admit the hotels being used so far for quarantine are very nice.
The Chinese may just be getting some of their own back. The 2003 SARS outbreak was mostly confined to China and we quickly imposed a quarantine on them. No one died here and only 7% of Chiense victims died. One is too many, but quick action saved lives.
Back in this country, closing schools because someone may have gotten flu is looking to be increasingly silly. Not only does it risk infecting whole families, but it sets a very bad example to other countries, which are already panicked enough.
So how do we get everyone to calm down, to chill, and to go back to business as usual? Until the next time...