What a difference a day makes. Yesterday, we talked with our doctor and asked him about flu in the Lake Chapala region. The doctor was certain that there were no reported cases of the Swine Flu in the area. While there chatting we witnessed more than a half dozen folks pop into the doctor's pharmacy requesting cubrebocas or tapabocas (face masks). He had none. Dr. Polo sold about 350 masks on Monday.
Today the concern about the flu has grown. The Jalisco State Government has closed bars and restaurants. Salvadore's Restaurant ususaly has 4 -5 waiters serving the public every day and probably a number of cook's helpers and dishwashers. They will be without work for Lord Knows how many days. They will not have any wages nor any of the tip income that I am sure they depend on...... That resturant is open but only selling take-out meals with very few staff working.
The severity of the flu here, if it hits, will be mitigated by a couple of factors. Most of the area's snowbirds from Canada and the U.S. have already returned north. And, many of the wealthier folks in the area also manage to leave town on vacations and visits north during May. (May is usually the warmest month -- it is already quite warm here and getting warmer. Thank God for the cool breeze coming off the lake throughout the day and night.)
More and more folks are wearing face masks. It seems that over the last several days the numbers have increased with every bit of bad news. We haven't purchased any cubrebocas and probably won't. For now, we plan to "keep to ourselves" and avoid people in general and any crowded places in particular. We've already given the maid Friday off and thus have limited our exposure to folks a bit more.
We made a Wal*Mart run this morning and have stocked up on all of our medications and other non-food supplies. We hope that the nearby grocery store, El Torito, will maintain their well-stocked shelves. We don't eat very many canned or prepared foods since coming to Mexico, so we depend on fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats that we purchase on a nearly daily basis.
Who knows how bad this epidemic will get? I guess though, that when you see Wal*Mart store personnel disinfecting their shoppingcart handles, we need to take this seriously.
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