Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Swine flu terrorism

At least a bit of sanity on the subject of swine flu - the bad cold that is generating more panic than a squadron of Osama bin Ladens on bad speed.

Simon Jenkins in today's Guardian points out the baffling discrepancy between government adverts on the BBC that tell you not to panic and official statements that are pure calls to panic. But the best bit is this:

I would like to know how many people will die of heart attacks, meningitis, MRSA and delayed cancer treatment while health politicians play Whitehall games with flu. Many people might indeed die of flu, but they might also die of a nuclear attack, an asteroid strike or a dozen other diseases and accidents now receiving lower priority.

Read Simon Jenkins' article here. It'll do you better than a course of Tamiflu.


Paul said...

Ten people die on the road every day in Britain; yet it passes without comment in any of our media.

FlipC said...

@Paul - Except on a slow news day or some road plan initiative is set up and that's not to mention the 24 a day "alcohol-related deaths" or the 45 a day deaths from "Mental and behavioural disorders". See that's not 'news' it's background noise and won't sell newspapers.

Toronto real estate said...

That's a bit bad reasoning in my opinion - just because people die of other diseases or accidents, why shouldn't the department have a plan for the worse? Because that's all this is about: having a plan.

Btw, the most optimistic outlook are some 3k deaths in the UK, not 11k as Jenkins is pointing out.


Stan Moss said...

But no-one, including Jenkins, is objecting to plans. Obviously a government should always plans for the worst and that applies to everything, not just flu epidemics.

The argument is on two fronts:
1) a neurotic government that tells people to keep calm and then come up with ill-advised half-baked alarming statements;

2) The media -the tabloids in particular- whose levels of hysteria have reached absolutely laughable levels.

Just check this one. The other day most papers were teeming with headlines reporting 100,000 swine flu patients.

That was totally false. As you read the articles what they meant was: 100,000 sought advice regarding Swine Flu, meaning that a load of them were people feeling under the weather or with a sore throat who, concerned, called NHS direct or the Swine flu helpline. They were not swine flu patients.

See how hysteria is fostered?