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Friday October 28, 2016
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Modern leprosy



We left a few days before "swine flu" became a household term. The "horror" didn't hit until halfway through our vacation in Cozumel, an island off the southern shore of Mexico, when I turned on CNN while getting ready for dinner. I was incredulous--they made it sound like everyone in Mexico was keeling over from the flu, while at our resort and around town no one was even mentioning it. Vacationers were happily soaking up some well-needed sun and the locals were making their livings selling pottery and jewelry with their big smiles and jovial ways. Who would have thought that back home anxiety over swine flu fever had replaced Spring fever?

At the airport heading home, personnel waved an instant read thermometer around our heads to check for fevers. Our temperatures were normal, and we were soon flying home. We had no clue what was yet to come.

Back in Ann Arbor, we were met with a pie chart of fear, irrationality, compassion, and nonchalance, with fear taking up most of the pie. People were worried that the flu scare adversely affected our vacation (no, not at all) or that we had contacted the virus (no, not so far) or that there were sick people all around us (we didn't see any). But understandably, they were mostly concerned for their own wellbeing.

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