In light of the swine flu outbreak and its spread to Brazil, the state of São Paulo has decided to close ALL public schools in the state until August 17th.
No one could tell me, really, any statistics to show how necessary this is (i.e., how many people have contracted the flu/died, etc). So I did a little news research and I learned...
*There's a downside of public healthcare: when there's an outbreak of a disease, EVERYONE thinks they have it and goes to the hospital to get checked, for better or for worse (for better).
*5 people have died in Campinas (a city about 2-3 hours from the city of São Paulo).
*All of the other big states are closing schools, too.
* There is an issue about how the classes are going to be made up (Saturdays? Summer school (snow day style)?)
*Private schools and day care centers have the option of whether or not to close. The government encourages it, though, and so most of them are. (Unfortunately, the evil money-grubbing, overcrowded and VERY LOUD day care next to our apartment building has apparently decided to STAY OPEN. FML.)
*At least 70 people have died from swine flu in Brazil. Almost all of them were adults, and 9 were pregnant women.
*Even so, closing the schools might be an overreaction. I found this quote in an article:
"De acordo com o infectologista, não há justificativa para pânico e a gripe A H1N1 "é preocupante tanto quanto outras doenças”. “Morre mais gente de enfarte, de acidente ou de gripe por dia?”, questiona. “Há um exagero nisso, não dá para identificar em toda sociedade quem está gripado”, diz."
Thanks to my awesome translation skills, it says:
"According to an infectologist, there is no reason for panic, and the H1N1 flu 'is as worrysome as any other illness.' 'Do more people die from heart attack, accidents, or flu per day?' he asks. This is being exaggerated, and it's impossible to identifiy everyone in the society who has the flu' he says."
Initially, Alexandre's year in the public med school wasn't included in the people with 2 weeks off. The logic was that, since they don't have classes (only patients), they're not part of the school. Or something.
And then, the DAY we bought our tickets to go to the US, a rumor started going around that ALL years of the med school would be released for the two weeks.
The school is having a meeting today to decide/announce what's going on.
Based on the results, we're going to try to Macguiver new vacation dates. I REALLY hope we can come to the US for more time, but I'm not getting my hopes up. There are a lot of factors, like...
*If/when Alexandre will have to make up the hours lost
*Alexandre's uncanceled plantões (12-hour shifts)
*My work (we're right in the middle of final tests and we're starting a new semester next week)
*The price of changing the tickets
*How many extra days we'd actually get
*Whether or not Alexandre has to go to the hospital the 17th-21st (likely)
I'll keep you posted!
In the meantime, what are your thoughts? Good idea to close the schools?