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Boston Declares Health Emergency Due To Massive Flu Outbreak 316

Posted by Soulskill
from the what-animal-can-we-blame-this-year dept.
skade88 writes "Boston has seen 10 times more flu cases this year than last. They are now up to 700 cases and counting, with 18 deaths in the city. The city of Boston has declared a public health emergency in the wake of the epidemic. 'The CDC said the proportion of people visiting health care providers with flu-like symptoms climbed from 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent in four weeks. By contrast, the rate peaked at only 2.2 percent during the relatively mild 2011-2012 flu season. The estimated rate of flu-related hospitalizations in the U.S. was 8.1 per 100,000 people, which is high for this time of year, according to Dr. Joe Bresee, chief of the epidemiology and prevention branch of the CDC’s influenza division. The agency’s next advisory will be issued Friday.' As previously discussed on Slashdot it would also be nice for your friends and coworkers for you to stay home if you are sick."
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Boston Declares Health Emergency Due To Massive Flu Outbreak

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  • Re:Good Advice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bremic (2703997) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:06PM (#42538417)

    It's fairly simple. When employers insist that you need to go to a doctor when you are sick and get proof or they won't believe that you were, then people decide "if I have to go out anyway, I may as well go to work."
    Also, when one person in an office is very sick, then they get a lot of negative attention. If it spreads and a number of people get sick, then they were one of the unlucky ones.

    I used to stay home when sick, until I had a manager who told me that if I took any more time off I would probably lose my job. So when I next got the flu I took drugs and went to work. I can tell you though, I really enjoyed my lengthy closed door meeting with him and HR that day. I don't think they were happy I scheduled that meeting.

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot&hackish,org> on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:09PM (#42538485)

    But by default you won't be paid if you stay home, so there's still an incentive to try to come in and hide it if you feel you're at all on the borderline, and to come back as soon as you no longer look visibly sick (even if you're still contagious).

    Some employers do give their employees a certain number of sick days to reduce that incentive, but labor law in most states doesn't require it, and many employers don't. For example, neither Starbucks nor McDonald's offer sick days to their retail workers. Oddly, they do offer sick days to their non-retail workers (office employees, e.g. accountants, managers, etc.), despite those employees not being customer-facing. Perhaps they care about whether corporate HQ is sick more than whether customers get sick. :P

  • http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2013/01/flu_deaths_influenza_cases.html [pennlive.com]

    The most common strain this year is H3N2 and it's one of the strains covered in this year's flu shot.

  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:11PM (#42538547) Journal

    While the CDC does not keep a tab of deaths overall from the flu, it estimates that 24,000 Americans die each year.

    Why doesn't the CDC keep tabs on overall deaths from the flu?
    You can make policy without hard numbers, but you will never know if the policy is effective.

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Archangel Michael (180766) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:42PM (#42539095) Journal

    Cough ... "I"m not feeling well" happens to fall on first day of Duck Season (or big game day, or round of golf)

    I get sick days, paid. But I know people that take all of their sick days for whatever reason and then when they DO get sick, don't have any and end up whining about not having enough sick days. Dude you went duck hunting (sick day) and got sick now that you're out of sick days ... I have no sympathy.

    On the other hand, don't get the flu, it sucks. And all those flu vaccines aren't helping.

    http://prn.fm/2013/01/08/gary-null-flu-vaccine/#axzz2HWMRMGv4 [prn.fm]

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Phrogman (80473) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @06:46PM (#42539181) Homepage

    But in CorporationLand, the important thing is to maximize the profits at all costs. The best way to maximize those profits is to pay the minimum possible wage with zero benefits - and if the person doesn't show up enough times, hire another desperate drone from the huddled masses of the unemployed and abuse them until they leave or find a better job. You get what you hire of course, but since its for a job that has no future and is simple enough to learn, they don't have to have high standards.
    Sure, if they paid a better wage and offered decent benefits they would retain more employees and have more loyal workers but suspect the current system is working better for them.
    Where I am living the minimum wage is $8.75/hr I believe. A study from a year or two ago determined that you need to be making at least $15/hr in order to have an acceptable minimum standard of living in the same community. The average price of a house here is $603k. Thus, the average person will never own a house here and will be stuck renting. Since there are no rent controls, rent continues to climb while wages drop.

  • Re:Good Advice (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AaronW (33736) on Wednesday January 09, 2013 @07:16PM (#42539637) Homepage

    I ran into this too when I went to work for a large networking company in Silicon Valley (competitor to Cisco). Anyway, after I joined I learned that they combined their sick leave and vacation pay and as it was the vacation was not all that generous. Of course the first thing that happens is I get the cold from hell. Next I find out that they have mandatory vacation days which were at odds with some trips I had planned and paid for long before I started working there (and told them about up front). Needless to say, I was happy to leave there over that and numerous other bonehead policies. They mandated that everyone take the week off of the 4th of July (3 days of vacation wasted) as well as the week of Labor Day (4 more days of vacation wasted).

    Many other large companies also do not offer sick leave, even food chains like Red Lobster and Olive Garden.

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