Time Magazine Online writes “In Japan, Swine Flu Spreading Quickly” and states at the beginning of the article:
The number of swine flu cases in Japan are escalating with surprising speed, and health officials are not sure why. The Japanese government on Wednesday confirmed the first two cases of the disease in Tokyo, the world’s most populous metropolitan area. Meanwhile, the number of Japanese who have contracted the new flu has more than doubled since May 18 from 130 to 279, a rate of increase that is “without a doubt” the highest in Asia, says Peter Cordingley, regional spokesman for the World Health Organization. “It’s explosive.”
Question: How do you get “surprising speed” from only 292 cases out of 127,288,416 in a populated country that is slightly smaller than the state of California?
Time takes the opportunity to use swine flu and propel themselves into the upper echelons of website rankings by writing articles like the one mentioned above to attract visitors, sell copies of their magazine and satisfy their advertising quotas.
Time says in its opening statement that “the new flu has more than doubled since May 18 from 130 to 279, a rate of increase that is “without a doubt” the highest in Asia”. Then at the end of the paragraph they hit the readers with:
Explosive would be the number of cases doubling day by day or hour by hour. Time and other large news outlets are masters at exaggerating facts. However, it’s probably one of the reasons many people have stopped subscribing to major magazines and newspapers. They all too often overstate the facts and add too much opinion where they don’t need to.
While 292 cases to date sounds like a large number of infected people in Japan, it pales in comparison to other places. Swine flu is not in control anywhere. If anyone says the flu is out of control they are correct. But then, when has it ever been in control?
Only 292 reported cases of swine flu in Japan sounds pretty amazingly low considering the countries boasts 127,288,416 people as of 2008!
No Humidity Just Yet, But Just Wait
The Kansai area of Japan, and many other parts of the country, are well known for having high humidity. Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe are three cities that rank high on humidity. So far this year, the humidity is relatively low. But that will change, no doubt.
For the past several years, high humidity always seems to come and stay right after the first typhoon passes through the Kansai region. From that point on, it is here for the duration of the summer and doesn’t go away until autumn begins coming around.
The difference between now and then is the nights. Right now, the nights are relatively pleasant to sleep through with the windows open. There’s a cool breeze that can still be felt and the air is cool enough one can sleep with a light blanket. However, after that first typhoon comes blowing through, sleeping through the nights with the windows open will be unbearable, at least for those who don’t mind sleeping and sweating at the same time.
The good news about the high humidity in Japan is that it doesn’t last long. It usually comes and goes in about 2 to 4 weeks, depending on when the typhoon comes and leave its nastiness behind.
When the area becomes mushi atsui, thick with humidity, the best way to battle it is with a nice fan with the windows open – make sure you have good window screens to keep out the pesky mosquitoes (another story) – or you can close the windows and definitely keep the mozzies out and turn on the air conditioner.
For people who have joint problems, before you go to sleep make sure the air conditioner is pointing up or away from your body so the air doesn’t blow directly on you. If you sleep with the air blowing right on you, you may wake up in the morning stiff. Cool air tends to make joints and muscles stiff, and may cause some people to cramp at night. Air conditioners can also over-dry air which could potentially bother asthmatics or those with sinus or snoring problems.