Vice President Joe Biden created a bit of an uproar Thursday when he suggested that people stop taking commercial flights and avoid riding the subway because of the potential spread of swine flu.
"I wouldn't go anywhere in confined places now," Biden said on NBC's "Today" show.
So does that mean the 'L' is completely empty now?
"I think he's causing just a little too much scare," Tom Mullarkey told the Tribune as he boarded a CTA train that was as crowded as ever. "Outside of complaining that swine flu takes up the first ten minutes of the newscast, I'm not concerned."
"I would not be at this point... suggesting they ride the subway," Biden had said. Later, Biden's office had attempted to clarify his remarks, saying that he meant only sick people should avoid confined public spaces.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs apologized for the remark, and transportation agencies attempted to set travelers' minds to rest.
"Buses and trains are as safe as any other public area," said William Millar, president of the American Public Transportation Association.
Mayor Richard Daley also responded to the comments: "We all have to get to work. I mean, we'd be staying out of our cars. We'd be staying out of subways, out of elevators – how about elevators? No, no, no. You have to remember – we have to ... use some common sense."
Daley makes a good point. As Chris Ferguson noted, given the current statistics, people are more likely to die from a car accident than the swine flu.
But we're not going to start shutting down the car companies now, are we? Oh, wait...
Matt Bartosik, editor of Off the Rocks' next issue, is not running out to buy a questionably effective medical mask just yet.