Tuesday, 28 April 2009

We Are All Going To Die!

Dear Sky News,
Calm the hell down. Oh and that goes for BBC News 24 as well. Whilst sat in the pub last night for the quiz the televisions were, us usual, turned to Sky News, “All gloom, All the time”. Your even handed handling of the public health nightmare that might be swine-flu is admirable. Your subtle use of graphics indicating “Worst Case Scenario” and giving us the figure of 780,000 deaths was lovely and was unlikely to help cause a panic.
My sister-in-law, who works in a DIY shop by the way, has been approached today by someone wanting to buy a mask to protect them against swine-flu. That's a paint fumes mask against a virus that isn't in England yet. Do you not yet understand the power that you have? To be honest, I think that you fully understand it and you enjoy wielding it, driving the news agenda and forcing the hand of others such as the government.
Are you going to report every “suspected” case of flu as “breaking news!” when it turns out to be a bloke with nothing more serious than a case of media induced hypochondria and a cold?
Whilst this can be a serious illness and lead to death (150 so far in Mexico), it can also be no more serious than normal flu (which does actually kill quite a lot of people per year anyway. Earlier this year GP's where allowed to use Tamiflu as per the pandemic plan because the normal seasonal outbreak was so bad.) Of all the people who have contracted the illness outside of Mexico, none have died. In the U.S. only 2 of them were even hospitalised.
So let us remember SARS and bird flu when I ask you all to calm down and report it sensibly and reasonably,

Yours, without a cold but significant other does, OMG! Do you think it might be swine flu? The media is saying that we are all going to die,

Martyn xx

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