Ahhhh, another week, and another media driven, badly researched, foolishly followed panic. Yes folks, once again the world is on the brink and we're all gonna die. Breathless bubble heads have for days been screeching the fear mongering line of the World Health Organization over the latest threat to the very existence of humanity, Swine Flu.

Take just a moment and think, remember. The WHO is the very same organization that has been threatening us for at least the last 9 years, that we're all gonna die from the Bird Flu. For years, every few weeks, we heard how Bird Flu was on the verge of becoming a global pandemic and could potentially wipe out millions of people. Strange, you don't hear an awful lot about Bird Flu these days.

As of this mornings half asleep, coffee hasn't kicked in, I really need a vacation research of Total Swine Flu cases world wide, the top story from the Wall Street Journal breaks it down by country:


World wide: 653 confirmed cases
World Wide: 16 confirmed deaths
World Wide: 6,500,000,000+ people in the human race

I think the WHO need to go back to school and get just a little more education on this thing called numbers. I'm no doctor of medicine, but some how, 653 out of 6.5 billion, doesn't seem to be that large.

Of course, the media carries the greatest responsibility for this latest round of "let's scare the shit out of people." Before the number of cases had reached 200, media outlets were acting and reporting the End of Days, whipping up as much fear and panic as possible. And it worked. The evidence is all around you if you open your eyes and look.

Schools closing, hospital phone lines jammed, attendance at movies and other events down. People, you are so easily manipulated. You watch the news and blindly believe what you are told, no questions asked. You hear trigger words and let your fear run away with you. The flashy graphics and looming music at the top of the hour, fill you with dread because micro-organisms are going to get you.

But you never latch onto the numbers, never look at the over all scope of the story or issue. 653 confirmed cases world wide. WORLD WIDE! You are letting the media control you, frighten you, manipulate you over something that does not even register as a single percentage point on the world population.

Cut the strings folks. The media is about ratings, not truth or facts. You don't need puppet masters telling you when to be afraid.

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Comment by Jim DePaulo on May 3, 2009 at 11:47am
You are right, Cowpunk62, worldwide preparation is essential if we are to control a serious pandemic and that is exactly what the responsible agencies are doing. It isn't what the media is doing, however. The 24/7 coverage gives the impression that a shroud of death is about to descend on the population.
The majority of the population have no clue about the nature of epidemic disease or the nature of viral biology. When terms like epidemic or pandemic are thrown about people automatically conjure images of the Black Death or the Swine Flu of 1918. Epidemic (to an Epidemiologist) simply means more cases than would be normally expected and pandemic means that the disease exists in a significant number of countries world wide. Other parameters are, of course, important. Virulence of the disease, communicability, mortality, availability of treatment and effective and accurate information to at risk populations.
Panic is NOT what should be communicated.
What improvements in our containment procedures do you believe are needed? The aims of containment are to mitigate the spread of the disease NOT necessarily to prevent the spread.
Comment by HotMess on May 2, 2009 at 10:42pm
The problem is that we can't stop it from spreading. We're lucky that this time it's a mild virus.
This is like a world-wide fire drill in preparation for the possibility that a more virulent strain could appear somewhere. And it's obvious that we need to make some serious improvements to our containment procedures.
Comment by Jim DePaulo on May 2, 2009 at 10:18pm
Let's see 650 cases works out to be .00000001% of the population - the horror - the horror. The rapture is surely apon us.
I wonder how the population will fare if we have a real epidemic.



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