Wednesday, 29 April 2009

It's rant time!

I've been storing up several rant zones for some weeks, mostly to do with Gordon's mouth (my older readers may remember a post about this wierd organ, its behaviour and emissions - I may have to post separately about this). But the levee has burst, and it's burst all over, guess what, SWINE FLU!

First, some facts, as reported by media up to and including the BBC. We're all going to die. (Well, that's true!) Don't come back from Mexico, if you can help it. If you must, wear a blue gag, just like the reporters (That's the ones wearing the accessory, not the ones telling us they're useless, if not worse - and don't under any circs share masks). As of now, confirmed cases in the UK have increased from two to three: that's a 30% increase isn't it? Or is it 50%? Depends how you measure it. And, worst, one of them is in South Devon! That's not on! Mothers are terrified. Schools are closed. The WHO is poised to escalate from level 4 to level 5, because (I have to go into caps here) - A BABY DIED AFTER CROSSING THE MEX-TEX BORDER!!! National boundaries just don't mean nothing anymore.

So. Some real facts. Around 25,000 people died in England and Wales last year from secondary flu-related complications (bronchitis, pneumonia etc.) The Office of National Statistics is quiet about what proportion of flu cases this represents, probably because the numbers are too big to crunch, and it's pretty normal and boring. But let's guess that it's 5%. (That'd give us half a million flu cases, which doesn't sound unbelievable.)

In Mexico, so far, there are somewhere between two and ten thousand suspected cases, and about 160 deaths attributed to the disease. There hasn't been much information about proven causal links or secondary complications - in fact there's been no information whatsoever. But let's be cautious. On the worst case, we are looking at ten per cent fatalities. So this scary new thing is about twice as lethal in Mexico (or, to be precise, a few small ringfenced bits of Mexico) as normal flu is in the UK. Well, I can live with that. And I didn't even get my jab this year.

This media balloon will burst, or more likely deflate slowly, sadly, to the 'other news' columns on page 7, just like CJD, foot'n'mouth, SARS, avian flu ... If I'm wrong, sorry - I don't think I was the one who sneezed over you.

Meanwhile, just don't snog no wetback hogs.

Acknowledgment to Simon Jenkins of the Guardian for a serious article which triggered these facetious thoughts.


  1. Imagine my shock and awe and anxiety when I saw the news last night, reported from the Paignton college where the poor mite was pupiled and realised that, on Tuesday, I was freely walking around, in the open air, no face cloth, no pill taken, no more than 169 metres from the south elevation of the community college building and that's close!!!* - (555 feet for old people) I rarely visit Paignton but this was a call of duty (paid work). What should I do? Am I entitled to panic and weep? So far I feel OK. I'll keep you posted, hopefully.

    But the BIG worry is: I have to return to Paignton again next week on another paid work mission. Should I stay in bed or brave the crisis which by then will almost certainly be a pandemic? (from the ancient media word "panic")Should I stay or should I go???!!!*

    Has WHO called for the Doctor???*
    Where are the time lords when you need them???*

    *Near-pandemics and sneezes allow for numerical increase in use of exclamatory punctuation, on an exponential basis related to the WHO alert level

  2. I thought we are all supposed to die when a giant meteorite hits planet earth while the military are sorting out Afghanistan or something. Or do we die of disbelief when Gordon tells us about his cunning new plan. Doesn't bother me. I'm leaving the planet anyway.

  3. Hurray for my brothers who have finally put this media hype into perspective. Last Monday I felt a bit under the weather, aching joints, stomach ache, headache, lethargy and my first thought was - swine flu. Then I remembered that I hadn't been to Mexico or inhaled the breath / licked the fingers of anyone who had.

    I watched the Breakfast Show on TV on Wednesday and the presenters were absolutely determined to have someone throw up their hands in panic - the nearest they got to it was a schoolgirl who said she cried and was frightened when told her school was closing temporarily because of swine flu - crying 'cos your school was closed??? I wonder how many schoolgirls they had to talk to before they found one who could act scared!

    I think it's a government plot, making us think we may all die, which might take our minds off the 'state of the country'