The plain old boring regular flu “kills 36,000 Americans every year”:http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/28/regular.flu/index.html, or 101 people every single day. The swine flu has killed zero Americans so far but the media stirs up fears (and ratings, of course) about it – the only death in America was a Mexican boy who contracted it in Mexico and flew to Texas where he died. People all over the world are “buying and wearing surgical masks”:http://edition.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/04/28/regular.flu/index.html even though “they don’t help you”:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/swine-flu/5239580/Swine-flu-do-surgical-masks-really-work.html – masks are meant for the people with the sickness to wear to avoid passing it on to others:

bq. US health officials give very different guidance. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said there is not a lot of evidence that masks do much good, and have pointedly not recommended their use by the general public. Swine flu is thought to be transmitted in much the same way as seasonal flu, by touching something with the virus and then passing it to the nose or mouth or through coughing or sneezing.

People say they hate fear, but they secretly seem to love it.