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Shutdown comes as new data shows that there have been fewer flu cases in Mexico than feared
The mood and vigilance with which people reacted to the scare also varied from neighborhood to neighborhood as the long holiday continued.
In the trendy middle-class Condesa neighborhood, almost everyone on the streets carefully sported their paper blue surgical face masks — the iconic image of swine flu.
“I basically stay in my house almost all the time. I don’t want to see any of my friends in case they infect me or my son or daughter,” said Alejandra Peralta, a 37-year-old single mother in Condesa who works for the government.
“A friend yesterday said he was going to pop by. I told him that I didn’t want him in my home spreading his germs,” she laughed.
But in many working-class barrios, teenagers and young men massed carelessly on the street, laughing, chatting and kicking footballs around.
“I’m not scared of the flu. Let it come and get me,” said Hector Quiros, 27, shrugging his shoulders before running back into a street game of headers and volleys.
Mexican health officials are trying to fight such complacency, saying that even if the numbers are down it is too early to announce victory.
Furthermore, new influenza viruses can change and mutate to become more dangerous, and their effects often come in waves.
The Spanish flu of 1918 to 1919 originally appeared in a mild form and then came back stronger to wreak havoc in the winter.
“We need to keep being vigilant and examine our responses,” said Health Secretary Jose Cordova. “This is a new virus and it is difficult to predict what will happen."
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