Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A-porkalypse now

So ... 159 people have died worlwide from the Swine Flu 'pandemic'. Sorry, I couldn't help using the inverted commas there. You see, a pandemic is something like what's happening with HIV and AIDS in Africa. It affects hundreds of thousands. A pandemic is what we had in 14th century Europe when the Black Death (Bubonic Plague) killed 50 million people - about 50-60% of the total population. Sad though every death is, 159 deaths is NOT a pandemic nor even the start of one. As I understand it, there's only been one death in the USA and that was a small child. All of the others have been in countries - mostly Mexico - where healthcare ... well, it could be a lot better.

The media are driving me to distraction by whipping this whole issue up into a frenzy of panic and misinformation. Let's keep some perspective here folks! Firstly, if you're fit and healthy you'll almost certainly not be at serious risk. Secondly, face masks only work if you change them every day so issuing them is pretty much pointless. Thirdly, look at the figures.

You are far more likely to die on the roads than die of Swine Flu. In fact, 1.2 million of you will die on the roads in 2009, approximately 3300 in the UK and a staggering 42,700 in the USA among them. I bet you're not panicking about driving to work though are you?

155,000 people will die today of natural causes. Over 100 kids will die this year in the UK from televisions and other furniture falling on them and around 4000 people will be killed in accidents in the home. Saddest statistic of all is that, worldwide, 11 million children under five years old will die this year of entirely preventable illness. So as you sit there on your comfortable First World sofa reading the papers or watching irresponsible news broadcasts (I just know that Charlie Brooker's going to give them Hell on tonight's Newswipe), just think yourselves lucky. You live in a country with adequate medical facilities, and stockpiles of antibiotics and other drugs. Most of you (I assume if you have access to the web) have a roof over your head and are well fed.

So please ... stop worrying about the piggy flu and get on with your lives. I'm sorry if this blog post is a little depressing. But it does at least make the point that there are worse things to worry about.

Live for the day.


MandiM said...

I suspect the panic bug will prove to be far more dangerous than the porcine influenza one.

It just makes you wonder if the 'pandemic' hasn't come at a terribly convenient time to divert our communal attention from the pig's ear that has been made of the economy, doesn't it??

punk in writing said...

That's the best headline I've read in a long time.

I'm waiting for A-porkalypse now Redux. ;)

John Soanes said...

The key letters in the word do seem to be PANdemIC...

chris hale said...

I suppose The Sun would say, 'There's snout to worry about'.

Andrew Kerr said...

Very well said sir.The only real worry is for the newspapers when the news blows over.The papers love their Hogwash but I for one look at all the facts I can.
My thoughts are with Mexico and hope they will recover economically as well as their citizens.

Stevyn Colgan said...

Wise words from you all. It just bugs me - if you'll pardon the pun - just how transparent this governmnet/media bullcrap is. There is an absolute correlation between government poor performance and useful defelction stories. When the government's education policy failed dismally, suddenly the discussion was fox hunting. When law and order was under scrutiny, it was smoking. Let's look back on this post in a year and see just how many Brits died of Swine Flu ... and just how many MPs managed to avoid their expenses coming under scrutiny.