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What People Need To Know About The Flu
I am very grateful for all the good wishes that people sent after the tragic passing of my young cousin Deganit "Duggi" Zarum-Glick, due to complications arising from the flu.
A number of people contacted me to ask that surely I must have been mistaken about the cause of Duggi's passing. Surely only the elderly, or those with pre-existing conditions, die from flu? Surely it's not necessary for young people to get vaccinated?
Alas, this is indeed the case. It's true that young healthy people do not usually die from flu, and my cousin's case was sufficiently unusual that it appears in the press. But it is not unknown. This year's flu strain is particularly dangerous, and there have already been 40 fatalities in Israel, including with several young, otherwise healthy people. In the US, tens of thousands of people die every year from complications arising from the flu. In fact, bacterial pneumonia is such a common sequel of the flu that the US government's vital statistics do not separate deaths from pneumonia and deaths from influenza.
Unfortunately, Israel is experiencing a severe national shortage of vaccines. I know many people who have been trying for weeks to get vaccinated, and it's just impossible. Most of the Kupot Cholim just don't have the vaccine in stock. Someone in the field explained to me that the Kuput were caught by surprise; they order vaccines from abroad in accordance with expected demand, and the national vaccine rate is usually only around 20%.
There's a common misconception that the flu just knocks you out for a week or two and that's all. It's important for such misconceptions to be cleared up. And especially in light of the new coronavirus from China, it's a good idea to always observe basic hygiene precautions. Venishmartem me'od lenafshotechem.
P.S. Here is a video that Duggi made for Pesach last year, in which she sings words which are unbelievably moving at this point. (If you are suscribing to the blog via email, you will have to visit the website to see it.)
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