Anne Schuchat, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s acting director (she was the actual director until Trump replaced her with a Tea Person, Brenda Fitzgerald, who stupidly bought shares in a tobacco company one month after taking office and resigned at the end of January) told Bloomberg that in the third week of January, 4,064 people were killed by pneumonia or influenza (they are closely associated during winter). That number is expected to rise as more data is processed. Schuchat, who was appointed by Obama (a man whose skin color is of great importance to the current president), also believes that the death toll of this season—which is far from over, and last week was responsible for one out of every 10 deaths in the US—will surpass the 2009-2010 swine flu episode, which hit 60.8 million Americans hard, sent 274,304 of them to the hospital, and sent another 12,469 to the grave (or oven).

What's of great concern to the competent employees of the CDC is that the current strain hasn't evolved enough from last year's to be considered new. “This is a difficult season, and we can’t predict how much longer the severe season will last,” Schuchat said. “I wish there was better news, but everything we are looking at is bad news.”

The first response to Time Magazine's tweet about the crisis is typical. It's from a Bellingham woman apparently named "Mary Jobes," whose account claims she is a "wife, mom, everything a woman should be...." She thinks it's absurd that people don't stay at home when they are sick. This is basic common sense. When you get the flu, you remain in bed. Mary Jobes's scolding would make sense if she lived in Sweden or even Canada, but not in the US, where health care is far from universal and a large number of jobs do not offer paid sick days. This makes sickness too expensive for many. And the reason why illness is so costly is because our society is too cheap. To save a few pennies for the rich in the short term, we are willing to place the whole society at risk in the long term.

From The Guardian:

...with a flu epidemic currently raging across the US, potential new sick leave measures are facing opposition from the same Koch Brothers-backed lobbying group that led the legal assault on Obamacare.

But the rational irrationality that defines the mode and thinking of the upper classes (with their ruling ideology of individual freedoms), ends up being far more expensive than the costs of a welfare system that makes illness cheaper and/or sick days affordable.

And so, it is not a surprise that studies on flu infection rates show they are lower "in cities where workers earn sick days." This is not rocket science; this is simply the higher rational, the public one, the one that cheapskates like Koch Brothers fight against. It must be emphasized that the rich are the niggards of the world.