Posts Tagged ‘Swine flu’

Hype – it’s a swine

April 30, 2009 Leave a comment

Swine flu nears pandemic level” (al Jazeera); “WHO elevates pandemic threat level” (CNN); “WHO fears pandemic is imminent” (BBC)

Oh my god, it is the end of civilisation as we know it – or at least it would be if the lazy, hype-obsessed so-called journalists had their way.

At the time of writing the number of confirmed deaths because of so-called “swine flu” is still in single figures, largely because this strain is almost indistinguishable from the original H1N1 virus which infects millions of people every year.

On top of this there are thousands of cases reported, so doesn’t that mean that almost all the people infected with this illness (or whatever illness it is) are actually recovering? Why isn’t that being reported?

The symptoms of so-called “swine flu” are identical to normal flu – which itself kills between 250,000 and 500,000 of us every year. Why is no-one jumping up and down about that?

The only difference here is the provenance of the disease – it has bits of avian flu, swine flu and human flu – but new strains are caused by natural mutations anyway, so unless this version has been engineered in a lab as the Times of India suggested, what’s the problem?

Al Jazeera English today said the search for the source of the new infection was centring on a small village in Mexico and that “suspicion had fallen on one particular small boy”.

Why? Did he have a full genetics lab in his playroom? Was he the evil criminal mastermind planning to take over the world by generating a new flu virus that would make his shares in Tamiflu worth billions?

The only pandemic we are facing at the moment is one of hype and rotten reporting, and the only cure is to get on with your lives and ignore these ridiculous headlines.

[EDIT/PS: As you may have guessed, it is the extent of the drivel we are seeing about so-called “swine flu” which drove me back to the blog :-)]

Categories: Journalism Tags: , ,