i just want to say thank you for some wonderful reporting over the years. Now all I can do is sit in the office waiting for the end. Damn you pigs, Damn you all to hell!
The internet has responded to the absolutely positively inevitable pandemic of swine flu with typical restraint and a decent sense of proportion, providing everything from context-sensitive maps to an iPhone application for those preparing to flee for the hills. The irksome fact that the majority of people who contract the new …
Given the hysteria on the other side, obviously we need to balance that with the opposite - complete dismissiveness.
It wouldn't do just to write an objective summary of the facts. It's not a journalists job to report facts! He's there to get ad revenue via eyeballs!
Your analysis is pat and lazy anyway. It is reported that all the deaths have been people aged 20-50, which kind of rules out the idea that the deaths can be handwaved off because of course old people die of flu. Sorry, none of them were old. But why let the facts get in the way of a lazy hack getting his liquid lunch early?
Head over to the BBC's Have Your Say; at least they do some analysis of the deaths (e.g. suggesting they may be more due to Mexico's poor standard of living rather than the deadliness of the flu per se).
People were right. The media is going to die, and be replaced by user discussion. That's the only place any intelligent ideas are being discussed about swine flu right now. Oh yes, 95% of discussion posts are moronic, but the other 5% contain more insight than the entire mainstream media combined.
BTW, flu "even kills the healthy when combined with other diseases", does it?
I might suggest that someone with "other diseases" hardly counts as "healthy".
Yep sounds about right, the sheeple will panic because the various Daily Mail like media agencies around the world are telling them to.
The thing to bear in mind is who is dead and what was their health like when they died, prior to catching this infection? Were they immune from things like flu? If you live in a country with relatively poor health care and you have very little experience with flu/cold like diseases and infections surely these are big factors in what is happening?
Sitting here with a stinking cold, but then again I spent last week riding my bike 15 miles a day in ever increasingly cold weather, sweating like crazy so I am not at all surprises, definatley not bothering my GP, I have asthma too which makes any cold a major pain the wotnot!
Two cases in Scotland a pandemic does not make!
While the Meeja(tm) continue to push this out as an apolcalyptic SWINE FLU MURDER DEATH KILL scenario, fear and panic (and unit sales) will increase.
Let's re-brand it the 'Wiggy-sniffles' - see how much interest that generates...
Mine's the one with the Tamiflu blister-pack in the pocket.
So does this mean the flu is being spread to non-muslims only? Or can they catch it too?
We need to contact The Sun so they can run an exposé on Mr Hook Hand, cos it's bound to all be down to him.
The headline could read: Hooky's Ham Fisted Attempt To Infect The World.
Also, See Page 3 Idol Contestants in their surgical masks!
From the Grauniad RSS:
"Swine flu 'can no longer be contained'"
"The prime minister, Gordon Brown, who will join a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee chaired by health secretary Alan Johnson today, said he would take "all urgent action necessary" to try to halt the virus,
Brown said he understood the "very real concern" of Britons but added that the UK was among the best prepared countries in the world."
So just like the UK being best positioned to weather the recession, we are reassured by our totally trustworthy and believable Prime Mentalist.
Time to stock up on Beechams and Hemlock as plan B, merthinks.
The guts of a comment was:
There actually is a very, very small chance that this virus could cause severe illness and whenever this occurs hospitalization and even fatalities are reported. The likelihood of a pandemic is miniscule, but newspapers, governments agencies and the manufacturers of pharmaceuticals do their best work and make their biggest sales when people are scared.
Tamiflu is recommended for treatment and prevention of this influenza virus. The company which gets the drug's royalties (Gilead) has as a major stockholder--previously Chairman--one Donald Rumsfeld. Local pharmacies are already running low on Tamiflu. Connect the dots.
And watch out for this:
Okay there's no need for hysteria - yet (possibly). But...
It's worth remembering that this is the virus that caused the 1918-19 pandemic and it has shown itself to be capable of human -> human transmission. What is absolutely crucial is finding out how deadly it is. At the moment the figures from Mexico City suggest a relatively high level of mortality, whereas it's produced relatively minor symptoms elsewhere. What we need to know is how many infections there have been in Mexico and if the deaths are in excess to normal 'flu. Of course there's an outside possibility there are two forms going around.
And even if this is a relatively benign virus, it is clearly capable of spreading through the human population. It will continue to mutate and reassort as it passes through humans and pigs (and possibly birds), which means we're getting yet another warning that pandemic 'flu is a real threat - how many more warnings do we need before we start planning for them?
BTW. Whales can catch the 'flu virus - can you imagine how much snot they produce???
I heard on the news that it's killed only relatively fit people between 25 and 45.
Not the usual youngsters, oldies and those with respiratory complaints.
Woohoo - I'm in the clear! That'll show you fit young bu66ers!
Film/Book to watch/read whilst you wait for the end of civilisation as we know it.
The Stand - Stephen King
you'll find it on Amazon.
That is all.
"The prime minister, Gordon Brown, who will join a meeting of the government's Cobra emergency committee chaired by health secretary Alan Johnson today, said he would take "all urgent action necessary" to try to halt the virus,"
Just like you took all action necessary to halt the banking 'crises', by spending 3 generations worth of tax contributions.
Ah yes, well done Gordon. Your plan is brilliant. Deflect attention from the recession. Gordon's coming to save us from certain death.
You're my hero Gordon.
I seem to remember a suggestion on a TV documentary that the 1918 pandemic had been proceded by a milder version of the same strain.
The suggestion being that the milder strain had primed the immune response increasing the chance for the Cytokine storm and hence been instrumental in increasing the fatality rate.
... it kills 10% or more of the world's population over the next couple of years? Would that be such a bad thing after it's all over? I mean, we'd achieve emissions reduction targets for sure. Houses would be cheaper. Buses and the Tube wouldn't be as crowded. Less need to elbow your way to the bar at the pub. And the queue for the ladies would be a bit shorter. There's always a bright side.
(/me Briefly wonders what it would be like if Sarah and I were the last two people on Earth ....)
"I might suggest that someone with "other diseases" hardly counts as "healthy"."
I disagree with this - I think when used, the word 'disease' creates the image of someone struggling their way through normal life, like an unfortunate, leprosy-ridden soul preparing to succumb to their fate. Perhaps if the correct terminology was used, such as the word 'condition' instead, it would be more true to fact.
Having been an insulin-dependent diabetic for 21 years, I am completely 'healthy', although my 'condition' means that , were I to catch flu, I would be more at risk of complications.
Much as the cynicism in this snoutbreak is probably justified it's also worth keeping an eye on the quality news sources (not Twatter) for information about pigageddon. If this does turn out to be the aporkalypse then you will feel pretty silly having pignored the warning signs.
Jokes aside these things take a while to develop so let's not dismiss it yet, but let's not panic either.
Just spotted in a comment on Radio 4's PM Blog (author: RxKaren):
Periodically throughout the past 5 years health and social care providers (PCTs, Hospitals, Social Services, Councils, etc) have got together for tabletop exercises where they pretend that there's been a disaster and shuffle the Playmobil figures around to cope with the crisis to see where the gaps in the current provision are. I've been told that it's a bit like Time Commanders without the fancy graphics and satellite view. Apparently they're quite good fun (I've never been on one).
(Additionally, since there's been discussion of potential new comment icons, how about a Playmobil one?)
Looks like some big pharma already wasted the huge pile of cash they made from selling craploads of useless drugs to various goverments -tinfoil-hat citizens- with the avian "pandemics" stuff, and are in need of another mammoth cash injection...
Watch out for our next PR-fuelled "pandemics": the Rat Flu (2011), Cockroach Flu (2012), Earthworm Flu (2014), Giant Jellyfish Flu (2017), Laser-equipped Shark Flu (2018), Philodendron Flu (TBA)...
Looks like you only need a few tens of unconfirmed cases to use the word "pandemic" these days. The last one didn't even qualify for the more moderate "epidemic" FFS.
After the Flu Apocalypse is done.. and all those that live in squalor, don't have access to basic medical supplies like aspirin, don't have clean drinking water, don't have access to healthy food, don't have doctors and hospitals that will accept sick patients and are probably already seriously ill from the kinds of diseases that hang around places like this.. when they're all dead and only last vestiges of humanity survive (around 6 billion or so) I hope that you all remembered to keep a journal of your trials.
Record every can of dog food you ate, every flu-plague mutant you dispatched and every sexy blonde damsel you rescued from cannibals. Because the best one is a dead cert for the next Mad Max movie, and I've got a head start on all of you by switching to a canned dog food diet..
All this panic from focusing on the wrong figures
The most widespread recent flu outbreak was in 1918, the figures break down that 28% of the population became infected and of the infected 2.5% died from the disease/complications.
If that was repeated then you'd have a 3 in 10 chance of catching it and then 3 in a hundred chance of dieing so overall 0.7%.
Don't get me wrong that's still a lot of people and at an individual level a tragedy for families
It would though create slightly less panic than the reporting along the lines of x hundred people dead.
And these numbers were before the advent of modern healthcare systems and disease control procedures so you'd hope that even though the infection rate was still high the death rate would be lower.
The biggest problem in the US is that people with no or limited healthcare don't go to the doctor and you miss the early stages on the spread which makes containing it and treating it harder.
...that the various western gubmints haven't seized the opportunity to blame it on Iran or Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Very odd. If anything, it lends it more credence but ultimately I agree with Pierre, it's probably a big pharma false flag mission. It's like every kid has ADHD now or some other condition that 20 years ago would've been treated with a clip 'round the ear but now needs copious quantities of meds, and everyone's depressed and needs useless anti-depressants that only induce side-effects but no relief from misery, and they've even got an obesity pill which is truly staggering; can't you just stop eating pie? Cut down on the cake perhaps? More meds, more meds.
There's no news like sensational news, it's the new truth you know. Well done El Reg for showing a bit of restraint and cynicism in a Diogenes kinda-way. Let's wait and see shall we and as someone else said, the human race could do with a bit of a cull and I don't mind dying as long as it's not too painful and is relatively quick.
I have a snotty cold right now too, bugger.
Your still FAR more likely to be killed by the NHS' filthy wards. C.Diff and MRSA kill more EVERY year than RTA's and Swine flu combined 10,000+ v 3000 every year.
Yet the politico's only rabbit about speeding. Just cleaning the wards WILL definitely save more people than lowering the speed limit to one mph and putting camera's on everyones head.
Yet they wont clean up the NHS wards because that costs money. They would rather make cash from sCamera's and fines etc.
This isn't a maybe save lives like sCamera's, this is a provable sure thing. Hospital Aquired Infections are 100% preventable with just basic common sense hygeine.
Makes you wonder the REAL reason why HMG does things doesn't it.
AC wrote: "The biggest problem in the US is that people with no or limited healthcare don't go to the doctor and you miss the early stages on the spread which makes containing it and treating it harder."
The other thing is, many of the millions of low-income or minimum-wage workers keep on GOING TO WORK every day for as long as they possibly can in the early stages of things, because they have *NO* PAID SICK-LEAVE and they can't afford to miss any pay by taking time off from work just because they felt a little woosy or what they thought was just a cold (to *start* with, before it gets worse).
But from what I understand (generally speaking) they can still be CONTAGIOUS to everyone around them since those viruses are airborne and harder to avoid (as in, breathing).
The worker pops some cheap generic "cold medicine" (kept on hand for such occasions) to help mask the initial symptoms, you go to work and try not to let on that you feel like crap even though you're about ready to fall over, and do your best to make sure the boss doesn't notice, because you don't want to get sent home and lose a day's pay. You might be able to pull that off for some time. So you spread contagious *airborne* viruses to your CUSTOMERS and the rest of the general public - thinking of restaurant jobs, hotel/motel workers, some cashiers and the many other low-paid or minimum-wage "service" jobs that typically don't have any benefits such as paid sick-leave. It's common.
It could become a problem if a nasty enough airborne-contagious virus was involved. You'd just have to breathe a few whiffs of the same air as one of those early-stage sick workers, then you take the virus/disease home with you and spread it to your own family, friends, neighbors, your own coworkers, etc., and it goes on from there.
In the case of some new quickly-spreading highly-contagious airborne virus, seems like it could be a problem. The government tells sick people to stay home, but they go to work anyway (as far as possible) because they need the money.
I also wonder about the more urban tightly-packed populations we have now, which would speed up transmission, compared to (at least in the U.S.) the still comparatively less-urbanized populations at the time of the 1917/18 flu. You'd think we modern humans, as descendents of survivors of the 1918 flu (I lost some ancestors to that), would have some built-in genetic immunity, but maybe it doesn't quite work so neat and tidy like that, who knows.