Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Zarela Martinez, owner of Zarela Restaurant, talks about the reaction to the swine flu outbreak both in New York and back home in Mexico. Then, Philip Alcabes, associate professor of Urban Public Health at Hunter College and author of Dread: How Fear and Fantasy Have Fueled Epidemics from The Black Death to Avian Flu, offers a little historical perspective on the swine flue outbreak.


Philip Alcabes and Zarela Martinez

Comments [19]

jade from ny

I understand and commend your effort to assure folks that they should not shun Mexicans, nor let this effect their stance on immigration. But it's flat out wrong to say that the people who've come down the flu didn't get it from Mexicans. (Unless you have proof that they were infected in another manner, of course.) Also spurious thinking to suggest that the source is not Mexicans because we haven't seen people dropping like flies in Texas.

Further, WNYC (not sure if it was you) yesterday stated that it was "only" 8 students who tested positive on Friday @ SFP. That was 8 of 9 tested. And only 9 were tested because most had already gone home. Please report the *whole* story!

Apr. 28 2009 12:12 PM
Kristen Phillips from Brooklyn

I'm an international flight attendant and have begun seeing passengers wearing masks on the airplane. Understandable, tolerable. But also hilarious, when said passengers are wearing the type of mask used for scraping lead paint or working with chemicals. Really, I've seen 'em! If you're going to wear a mask, at least make sure it's the "right" one.

Apr. 28 2009 10:49 AM
Mary Jane from Brooklyn

Yesterday I choked on some water and coughed for about 2 minutes. Everyone on the subway moved away from me.

Apr. 28 2009 10:46 AM
Mary Beth Kooper from nyc

I don't think you should assume that there are no Mexicans in the US, who have traveled back to Mexico recently, who have swine flu. not everyone runs to the doctor for the flu, and if you don't have health insurance, or are not her legally, you are much more less likely to do so. You are making assumptions way too early in this event.

Apr. 28 2009 10:41 AM
Mary Ruiz

could u find out what's the CAUSE of the swine flu? - seems we're concentrating in treatment after the fact, not prevention

Apr. 28 2009 10:41 AM
Merrill from New York, NY

Ghostbusters (Movie) Dr. Peter Venkman (Bill Murray) to the NYC mayor (David Margulies)persuading the mayor of the severity of the maurading ghosts and let the unknown ghost busters to do their business: "Lenny . . . (extended arms-palms up) Think of the voters."

Apr. 28 2009 10:40 AM
John from Brooklyn

In late 2001 / early 2002 -- in the wake of the U.S. bombing of Afghanistan -- there was a move among some in New York's antiwar community to patronize local Afghan restaurants.

Perhaps a similar gesture of solidarity with Mexican restaurants in cities and towns across the country is in order now -- to help ensure that Mexico and Mexicans are not unfairly and absurdly marginalized, as a result of this scare.

Support your local Mexican restaurant!

Apr. 28 2009 10:37 AM
Caitlin from Sunset Park

I've been getting all sorts of extra room around me on the train this week, thanks to my seasonal allergies. Thanks, swine flu!

Apr. 28 2009 10:36 AM
Fish from brooklyn

If people are afraid to eat in Mexican restaurants, they should be afraid of all restaurants in NYC. Many of them have Mexicans in the kitchens no matter the cuisine of the restaurant.

Go out to eat and don't worry! (If you can afford it.)

I love Zarelas by the way. Great food. Great atmosphere. Great margaritas!

Apr. 28 2009 10:31 AM
John-Paul from Elizabeth NJ

Not to be facetious but I can't help but feel bad for anyone who will be avoided if they're suffering seasonal allergies and is perceived to be "mexican" looking.

I also just came off of a late flu (that most certainly was NOT swine flu). What a miserable time of the year to have it.

Apr. 28 2009 10:27 AM
hjs from 11211

as a restaurant owner does ms Martinez see any effects of the recession in NYC, cause i don't. restaurants are full when i go out.

Apr. 28 2009 10:24 AM
Charlie Roberts from Oceanport, NJ

More people have paper cuts than the Swine Flu. Enough already!!!

And, I love Mexican food . . . bring on the Mole Pablano and the Carta Blanca cerveza!!!!


Apr. 28 2009 10:22 AM
Tony from San Jose, CA

Isn't coming back sick and feverish a normal occurrence when coming back from Mexico? That's not Mexican flu, that's just a hangover.

Apr. 28 2009 10:18 AM
Alvin from Manhattan

Disco Swine Fever!
Remember the 1976 Swine Flu "Epidemic"? After one case at Fort Dix (which was fatal), President Ford launched a massive innoculation campaign, which itself resulted in 30 deaths. Many saw this as an overreaction, possibly with political considerations (the 1976 elections).
While we're all worried about "Stayin' Alive", we shouldn't forget that you can't spell pandemic without P-A-N-I-C.

Apr. 28 2009 09:57 AM
Dr. Suess

eva, are you dubious of my efficacy?

Apr. 28 2009 09:56 AM

After eating rather a large amount of Tofu I believe I've now got Toflu. Trying not to panic but failing. Ah! Ah!

Anyway, antidote?

Apr. 28 2009 09:49 AM
Ed Helrmrich from Larchmont, NY

About a year ago Mexico legalized abortion in the face of lots of oppostion. Since then, they've faced the worst drug violence they've ever seen, and now a possible pandemic beginning in Mexico City. Any connections here?

Apr. 28 2009 08:17 AM
nyc_mom from nyc

I heard Philip Alcabes on "The Takeaway" yesterday. Glad he'll be back. He has a really good point on his blog/site that WHO, CDC, the mayor are doing the right thing:

"The events of the past few days, make for a ringing endorsement of sound public health measures, and should put paid to the panic-promoting “preparedness” semantic.

Apr. 28 2009 06:48 AM

Thanks for the colorful electron microscopy you provided of a flu virus for today's show. With its Seuss-like, bugle-resembling ion channels, it provided a much-needed smile.

I have to admit that the notion that vast numbers of us could be wiped out by things that look essentially like sketches for an alternate Dr. Seuss book kind of puts it all in (a very weird) perspective.

Apr. 28 2009 03:40 AM

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