So it’s now officially a pandemic. Though not many people in the media are as yet using that terminology. All to spare us the degrading activity of panicking en masse I suppose.
Swine flu arrived on these shores with a great furore and hoo-hah and then almost immediately blended into the wallpaper as The Great Expenses Debate peppered the MPs in the Houses of Parliament with their own richly scented excrement.
We didn’t exactly forget about it. We just didn’t want to deal with it. Not really. We’ll deal with it later, we thought. When we actually get it or when someone we know gets it.
And like a game of battleships the shells have landed ever closer and closer and now we’re all starting to get a little bit soaked by the resultant spray.
Apparently the World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently decided to raise the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 5 to phase 6. Not sure how many phases there are to go but it sounds very worrying. The number of flu related deaths has also increased. 14 so far in the UK according to one report.
People reactions to it have been bi-polar to say the least. On the one hand you’ve got people who have recovered from it shrugging their shoulders and saying it was no worse than normal flu and on the other you have people like the receptionists at my doctor’s surgery who, during a visit my wife made there last week, barred entry to a man who was panicking because he’d merely been on an airplane with someone who had swine flu. They actually kept him standing on the doorstep rather than allow him to come inside.
Despite all the information flying around the situation remains confusing. And confusion breeds fear far more effectively than keeping people well informed.
For my part – currently struggling with a sore throat, headache and a gummy ear – I’m not too bothered. I have no idea whether I’m coming down with a normal cold or the big SF and don’t care. A couple of days in bed sounds effing great. I’m otherwise fit, healthy and well nourished and am confident I will fight it off should it get me.
But my kids I do worry about. Ben especially is at risk due to his asthma. And Tom is barely 21 months old and has been hammered by every cold going since starting at nursery a year ago.
And still the water plumes rise ever closer...
It’s tricky. Do you wish to get it over with quickly or try to keep yourself disease free for as long as possible? Do you pray to get it now while the vaccine is still available and the doctor’s workload isn’t too great... or do you leave it until the whole country has come to a standstill and there are looters carrying off the latest iPods from Currys?
I guess it’s elementary. There is no choice. It’s fate. The will of God. Luck. Whatever.
You certainly don’t invite all your friends’ kids round for a “flu party” as some parents have been doing according to newspaper reports earlier in the week.
It’s one thing to have your battleship holed by a stray shell. Another to sink it yourself with your own guns.