I don't want to be a panic-monger but this year's flu season isn't screwing around. Deaths in the past few days include a 13 year-old girl; a healthy, 29 year-old nursing student and mother of three; a Florida woman in her 30s; a 53 year-old Oregon woman; and a robust-looking lifeguard/paramedic.
We're still waiting on the latest data from the CDC (their most recent numbers end on Dec 28), and their spokespeople are saying it's too early to compare this season to others, but the early information isn't looking good. The only US-affiliated acreage without flu are the US Virgin Islands and Guam, flu-related hospitalizations in states like Colorado have tripled since late December, and states like North Carolina are seeing more deaths and people on life support than they had this time last year.
Which brings me to my point: Please cover your goddamned mouth.
It's like people have forgotten the simplest, lowest-maintenance, Victorian-era etiquette this year—or maybe I'm just hypersensitive. Either way, I counted a dozen people yesterday openly hacking away on sidewalks, in grocery stores, and on their way in and out of restaurants. The biggest offenders, demographically speaking, were young men. (Surprise, surprise.)
The flu isn't killing a lot of people, but it is killing some—kids, moms, otherwise healthy people without underlying conditions. The least you can do is wash your hands and try to restrain yourself from hacking your sputum all over the rest of us.