Monday, April 27, 2009

Lemming Fever

Funier today, in his usual inimitable style, castigates the media for whipping up a panic over a few cases of flu in Mexico and the US. A handful of infections hardly justifies those who have started running around like Cassandra on a bad day wailing that "We're all going to die!" We heard the same during the SARS outbreak, and how many of you know anyone who actually died from SARS? The only person I know who contracted the disease is my doctor, and he recovered. It eventually killed just one in every 23,000 Hong Kong people.

This is not to say you shouldn't take the flu threat seriously; just keep a sense of proportion.

One of the funny things about this latest potential pandemic is that they're calling it swine flu, but one expert on TV the other day said it's a new mutation of the flu virus and there's no evidence that it came to humans from pigs. By that logic it could just as well be called wombat flu or polar bear flu , though I think perhaps lemming fever would be the most appropriate analogy - unless the swine they're thinking of are Gadarene.

Update: I've just seen Donald Tsang on the news telling us to be calm, so perhaps it really is time to panic after all! I'm off to Canada tomorrow night.


gweipo said...

Yes, I do know a doctor who died during SARS, he played in the same orchestra as me.
I can't help being fatalistic about it, the world is overpopulated and nature will take revenge sooner or later. And some of us will be the victim.

fumier said...

I don't even know anyone who knows anyone (except, now, you) who had SARS.

Joyce said...

actually, nobody i know -- and nobody they know, that i know of -- has ever had sars, bird flu or swine flu.

and i know alot of foreign correspondents around asia.

the biggest threats to them (and us, i suppose) are those boring common illnesses, like food poisoning or mosquito-borne fevers.