Health Magazine

Flu Is Earlier And Nastier This Year

Posted on the 11 January 2013 by Jobsanger
Flu Is Earlier And Nastier This YearThe above map is from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), and shows the extent to which the flu is already affecting this country. The clear majority of states are already experiencing moderate (yellow and gold) to high (orange and red) levels of the flu (based on visits to health centers and doctors across the nation). And this map was produced on December 28th. It has only gotten worse since then. This years flu is not only early in the season, but it is also particularly nasty (the most virulent strain in a decade).
The CDC is recommending that those with flu-like symptoms "should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care". That presents a problem for the United States. While most developed nations require employers to give their employees paid sick leave, the United States does not. In fact, some 40% of the private work force does not get any paid sick leave at all, and that jumps up to about 80% for low-wage workers -- the workers who simply cannot afford to take days off work even when sick, because they are barely making ends meet on their full salary and cannot afford unpaid days off.
And here's something that should bother all Americans -- about 79% of all restaurant workers are both low-wage and don't get any paid sick leave. And even though a restaurant is a prime place to spread an infectious disease like the flu, these low-wage workers simply cannot afford to stay at home when they get sick (because food, rent, and other expenses for their families would be endangered).
Think low-wage workers going to work sick doesn't matter. The CDC estimated that this caused an extra 5 million people to get sick when the H1N1 virus hit a few years ago. This particularly virulent strain of flu could easily equal, or even top, that total. And it's all because American business owners are too stupid (or too greedy) to grant paid sick leave -- and the politicians must share that blame, since they could easily mandate it.

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