Are you willing to wear a surgical mask during the winter to help prevent the spread of influenza? Since I've not seen a single mask in public, I'll go out on a limb and say the answer is no. While a mask may be of limited value in preventing the wearer from coming down with the flu, it serves as a barrier for the infected. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "Most experts think that flu viruses are spread mainly by droplets made when people with flu cough, sneeze or talk." The CDC also says that the flu can be transmitted up to six feet away. To be sure, there are probably people you would like to maintain that distance from, but for the most part, it would be a sad way to conduct your everyday affairs. Rather than adopt a germophobia outlook, most people take a prudent and rational approach to the flu that may include a vaccination as well as good personal hygiene and staying home when ill.
This year's prospect of a severe flu season is but one of a myriad of dangers that each person evaluates and eventually is tallied on a collective scorecard of perceived threats to society. In the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, school safety is one such threat that is once again being scrutinized. Renewed arguments for limiting or banning firearms are converging with calls for putting guns in the schools, usually in the form of placing law enforcement officers on site to protect students.