Friday, 8 May 2009

Pandemic Panic Subsides Into Sense

NHS Berkshire East PCT has announced that 'swine flu' has hit Berkshire, as a 20-year-old man from Slough who was experiencing symptoms on a flight back from Mexico was confirmed as being infected with the Influenza A (H1N1) virus.

Dr Angela Snowling said "it’s not very nice, but neither is it very serious."

The local health authority is also helping distribute a government leaflet to every household providing information about what the virus is, what is causes, how it spreads, what can be done to stop it and what you ought to do if you think you have it.

You can also download a digital version of the leaflet here.

Both Reading and Bracknell Forest Borough Councils have responded to public fears by releasing statements emphasising how good basic hygiene will prevent infection.


Elsewhere Matt Blackall exhaustively discusses the origins of the disease, suggesting that the mutation of a potentially deadly virus is the fault of global free-market capitalism.

Cynical nihilist Charlie Brooker wholeheartedly disagrees, explaining that people are easily scared of things they don't like which can't be controlled.

He says:
"Sadly, our magic controllable world is an illusion bearing little relation to the one we actually inhabit, where bad things sometimes occur for no reason. But rather than come to terms with it, we stubbornly refuse to accept the entire concept of risk, hence our neurotic hunt for the nearest scapegoat the moment anything goes wrong - or even looks as if it might."
Viruses spread and mutate - it's what they do.

Meanwhile others are taking a more lighthearted view.

Mick Spreader expects his alter ego to be smeared for spreading a new 'extra A' strain.

Noddy330 laughs in the face of fear and Cousin Gideon pushes the perverse logic to the extreme.

However the final word must go to the incomparable Charlie 'it's all balls, except when it's not' Brooker.
"Blind fear is counter-productive, but so is blind denial... it might be a good idea to, y'know, actually follow the medical advice by carrying tissues and developing a fairly studious hand-washing routine."


  1. Hmmm, I didn't think the Swine flu strain had been classified as the H1N1 one (i.e. a strain similar to the one which killed millions from 1918).

    Fine, we need to careful with new strains of flu... but its been a while since the outbreak and there really hasn't been many more deaths than standard seasonal flu. Influenza usually has a week long incubation period, so we really would be seeing a lot more deaths if this really was a killer strain. - Time will tell I guess?

  2. The small boy that cried wolf I fear.


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