Discover if you’re at risk from Swine Flu…
…or if it’s not really a risk to you at all.
So, in all probability swine flu is going to remembered by history as one of the following three things:
- The end for us all, with the possible exception of the creation of new, immune super-human overlords…
- Just another media-hyped flash in the pan, promoted by the media’s need to produce and sell news 24-hours a day, or with the backing of the drug companies…
- Another of many flu types that we should exercise the usual caution against, but not lose are heads over…
We’ll look at what your fellow Mobal Members had to say on the issue below, but before that, here’s some ‘facts’ to get you up to speed…
2009 Swine Flu facts at a glance:
- World Health Organization declares a flu pandemic on June 11, 2009, with a level 6 out of 6. However, this grading was not based on the severity of the virus, but its global spread.
- World Health Organization has so far recognized 52,160 cases of infection and 231 deaths.
- World Health Organization report that annual flu epidemics affect 5-15% of the global population (causing severe illness in 3-5 million people, and death in 250,000-500,000 people).
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that to help stop infection, people should frequently wash hands, especially after being out in public, and dispose of tissues and wash hands after sneezing.
- According to New York Times findings, people who contracted flu before 1957 could already have immunity against this new form of the virus.
- Various health organizations have jointly confirmed that eating pork products does not put you at risk of contracting the virus.
World Health Organization:
Wikipedia (assuming you trust the information, although many citations given)
And here’s what you fellow Mobal Members had to say on Swine Flu…
The ‘over-hyped’ view point
“Definitely over-hyped — the media are destroying day by day whatever credibility they might still have.
But of course, we previously have taken reasonable precautions Just In Case, including laying in a supply of hand sanitizing gel so when panicky consumers clear it off all shelves we’ll still be protected. (This fits in with other sensibe measures like having a supply of clean drinking water and some canned goods.)”
The price we pay for the need to fill time by 24-hour news networks. That’s not say it couldn’t have been real, but the news no longer reacts to the facts, it assumes them and then back-tracks when required.”
“A certain amount of caution is appropriate with any new disease strain. But I think that the news media certainly went out of their way to make this sound like the end of the world. Facts were not verified, numbers were grossly overstated, and thousands of people were inconvenienced for no reason. Many more people die every day from other forms of flu virus than from the A/H1N1 Swine Flu. Yes, things could have been worse, but the news has to be reported in a reasonable and truthful manner for everyone’s sake.”
“Tens of thousands of people die every day in car accidents, but those stories don’t sell newspapers. Governments and the media need to back off and just leave people alone. A little hygiene goes a long ways.”
“Unfortunately, the Swine Flu media hype is just the tip of the iceberg. Anymore, in a thousand ways, the media has the citizenry brainwashed with worry and fearful victimhood. As H.L.Mencken said decades ago: “The whole purpose of practical politics [and now, also, the media] is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with a series of hobgoblins.””
The ‘serious threat’ view point
“I’m a nurse and a nursing instructor, and I can only say that swine flu is a real threat, just like the usual seasonal flu (although so far it seems to kill fewer people). It is of great importance that people WASH THEIR HANDS FREQUENTLY!! This is true at home or while traveling. I’m sure no one is aware of how many times a day we touch our face or mnouth with hands that have touched many different things beforehand. Rigorous hand washing, along with common sense, should protect people from most illnesses passed by contact.”
Better to be a bit overly cautious and suffer the media hype than to ignore what could eventually become a major problem. Since it’s the same, or nearly so, strain that killed many in 1918 it pays to take precautions and do the research.
The ‘necessary caution’ viewpoint
“Only the press (and others seeking to make a quick buck) can’t accept that a potential global threat has to be dealt with seriously and aggressively; if it turns out to be less than a catastrophe, they attack those responsible and accuse them of over-reaction; if it goes bad, they attack saying that not enough was done, and a more serious problem should have been anticipated.
It would be great if some leadership were shown in a press organization so there would be somewhere to turn for rational analysis. Unfortunately, that probably would appeal to the rednecks that go for the sensational crap.”
“Over-hyped? Yes. Necessarily over-hyped? Yes as well!
Swine-flu has emerged in one part of the world, whereas bird flu emerged in Southeast Asia. The fear that if they both meet in the same person, then might mutate into something as contagious as the swine flu, but as deadly as the bird flu.
This might be coming in as early as September/October 2009. So while there is no real fear today, awareness should be raised, and the CDC’s (and WHO’s) mechanisms are being tested today, and hopefully the flaws will be addressed by Fall of 2009…”
“Epidemiologists must try to assess the risk of an unknown new virus like this one. Until they are able to do that they need to take precautions just in case a problem develops. Once a serious problem has gone out of control it is more difficult to reign it in. Fortunately, this virus has so far not caused more catastrophic disease than the better known varieties of the flu virus. We can only hope that it stays that way. There was reason for caution but there was no reason for panic. Now can we go back to life as usual please.”
“No, I do not fear swine flu. There is always a possibility of any number of diseases as we travel throughout the world; however, we must continue to take the usual precautions recommended by the CDC, and by the travel industry. I think the press dosen’t really mean to create hysteria; however, there’s always the pressue to reveal a story first and the competition gets really crazy after that. I think they are people trying to make a living, but in a bit over-the-top fashion at times.”
It would seem to me (coming from the position of absolutely no authority on this subject) that any new strain of virus, especially one that spreads so quickly, needs to be taken seriously. And it should be made aware to the general public with advice on how to avoid and minimize risk of catching it, while the scientists (I assume it’s scientists) collect enough evidence to declare how much of a threat something is.
However, in the meantime, the media shouldn’t really be speculating on what catastrophe ‘could’ happen before it’s been proven (and I guess the scientists shouldn’t court the media by providing their own speculations, albeit from a more authoritative position).
That said, if the worst case scenario does turn out to be true, then the media can quite rightly print the facts, even at the expense of mass hysteria.
However, what do I know? I’m just another person adding fuel to the fire with this blog post after all (oh yes, the irony of that hadn’t escaped me…)
So, do you agree or disagree? Leave you comments in the box below…
Emma is a Online Marketing Specialist at Mobal. She is responsible for our outbound marketing efforts including planning and executing email campaigns, social media and blog posts. She also works with the Web Designers at Mobal to update the website and to help to create a better experience for the user.