Jason Burns at Metblogs wonders if it might be the better part of discretion and valor to cancel Friday's May Day demonstrations, given the push to avoid large crowds gathering in constricted areas. Burns acknowledges how “politically-charged” his question is (actually it's an explosive one, touching on questions of free speech, ethnicity and public health), leaving unsaid the fact that we're talking about stopping a large gathering of Latino demonstrators, some of whom may have recently visited Mexico, the apparent point of swine flu's origin.

No room to sneeze: 2008 May Day march
Photo: ANSWER L.A.

It's a question that probably entered many people's minds as they watched news footage of this past weekend's throngs at downtown's annual Fiesta Broadway, billed as “the largest Latino event in the larges Latino market.”

“[I]s any large gathering a good idea?” Burns continues. “Should we be talking about postponing Major League Baseball games? What do we do about large gatherings of people on trains or buses? Should there be flu screenings at LAX?”

Comments responding to Burns' post were mixed. One reader claimed that in 2006 Chinese New Year's parades proceeded during an outbreak of bird flu, although another reader responded that swine flu is much easier to transmit than the avian variety.

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