Photo by Anthony Wright
The CDC says that surgical masks are absolutely useless in preventing swine flu, unless you are working in a health-care environment. The drug stores that have any left are selling them at seven pesos a pop. Many have run out, and I saw a guy outside of the Farmacia Paris (which had posted a sign that said "Ya no hay cubrebocas") selling them for ten pesos each.
Yet everyone and his brother has one in Mexico City. The Minister of Health, José Angel Córdova, has all but made them obligatory. Some people move them to the side while they puff on cigarettes, while others pull them down while they eat street tacos. Everyone and his brother talks through them on their cell phones. At a cantina last Monday, the customers were wearing them around their necks jauntily as if they were scarves.
I imagine that someone in a very high place here has a cousin in the surgical mask business.