Quickly, don your paper masks! Stay indoors! The dirty Mexican pig influenza is here, to sicken you! Wocka wocka. Did you know that America had another swine flu panic, in 1976? Let's reminisce, and laugh:

1976. Gerald Ford is leading our nation. Swine flu is detected in the populace. Panic! A history in NYT headlines:

February 20, 1976:" U.S. Calls Flu Alert On Possible Return Of Epidemic's Virus; U.S. FLU ALERT SET ON EPIDEMIC VIRUS"

Sounds familiar!

March 25, 1976: "Ford Urges Flu Campaign To Inoculate Entire U.S.; He Will Ask Congress for $135 Million to Make Vaccine for a New Virus to Avert Fall and Winter Epidemics Ford Urges U.S. Flu Campaign To Inoculate Entire Population"

Bold Action!

April 10, 1976: "$135 Million Voted By Senate to Fund Flu Immunization"

Unquestioning political acquiescence!

May 21, 1976: "Race for a Swine Flu Vaccine Began; In a Manhattan Lab Race to Develop Swine Flu Vaccine Began in a Manhattan Lab"

Feature stories!

June 9, 1976: "Experts in Europe Question U.S. Plan For Mass Flu Shots; Europeans Question U.S. Flu-Shot Plan"

Europe: Always trying to disrupt America's bold actions with "science." Shut up, Europe!

October 13, 1976: "SWINE FLU PROGRAM IS HALTED IN 9 STATES AS 3 DIE AFTER SHOTS; DEATHS OCCUR IN PITTSBURGH But No Evidence is Found That Fatalities Among Elderly Were a Result of Vaccinations States Halt Swine Flu Program as 3 Die After Shots"

The bold action has backfired!

November 24, 1976: "Swine Flu Victim, Back on Job, Asserts Regular Flu Was Worse"

The problem wasn't that bad in the first place!

December 17, 1976: "SWINE FLU PROGRAM SUSPENDED IN NATION; DISEASE LINK FEARED; 94 CASES OF PARALYSIS CITED U.S. Aides Act Because of Concern That Shots May Be Connected to Guillain-Barre Syndrome"

In fact the cure was worse than the disease!

February 5, 1977: "Swine Flu Program Brings $10.7 Million in Claims; 104 Suits Already Filed Are Viewed as only the First Wave"

The government must pay for its bold action!

November 16, 1978: "Around the Nation; Over $2.64 Billion in Claims Filed in Swine Flu Program"

And pay some more!

October 17, 1980: "$49 Million in Swine Flu Vaccine To Be Destroyed by Government"

And pay some more! The end.

Here's what we have today: 20 confirmed cases of this flu, which has killed nobody here. It'll spread for a while. Okay. There are plenty more deadly diseases already here, killing people every day! Even in Mexico, the epicenter of the deadly outbreak, and home to a far, far worse health care system than we have, it's only killed 103 people. That's a lot fewer people than have been killed in the Juarez drug war this year. This is a page B-3 story that's gone all A-1.