My swine flu entry

Posted on April 30th, 2009 @ 06:33 in Uncategorized

I would like to say something about this, or in fact several things. Let me put them into bullet points. I like bullet points, as you may know.

  • I am finding it quite exciting. Hey, a pandemic, never had a proper one of those in my lifetime! The possibilities this entails! It’s like a war, but without weapons! Like a flood, but without water! It has the potential to be really quite devastating, but it’s the kind of “oh I’m sure it will be ok” threat.
  • I’m bored of people saying they’re bored of the swine flu. Esp. the ones that say it’s all hysteria, and that the media, and the governments, and the WHO, are blowing it out of proportion. Actually I’m not bored of those, I’m fucking annoyed with those!

Lemme abandon bullet points for a bit. The main reason people are all “pandemic my arse” is because the previous similar threats we’ve had – in fact all the ones I can remember – turned out to be fine in the end, basically. BSE, SARS, and bird flu being the main ones I can think of.

The main thing with BSE and bird flu tho is that this was not transmitted straight from human to human. The bird flu virus could have evolved to do so (perhaps?), but didn’t. This makes a massive difference – look at how quickly this thing is spreading around the world (something I find quite fascinating in itself). SARS, on the other hand, was, but this was contained fairly quickly.

And that brings me to my 2nd point of annoyment (annoyment???) with the “pfft, overreaction!” people. Do they consider that perhaps the reason we are keeping on top of pandemics (if and when we are) is precisely because of the “overreaction”?! Because appropriate measures are taken, suspected cases are immediately taken into quarantine, and the stupid populace population at large are alerted and told to take basic precautions? No? Maybe?

Sure, a number of people with flu-like symptoms will be treated as swine flu cases at first even tho they may not be. But that’s bloody inevitable, and not to be used as a stupid argument for overreaction afterwards (as the number of suspected cases decreases). Wouldn’t you rather have a few false positives than miss a case, who then goes on to happily shake hands and further spread the virus?

So yeah. That’s not to say I am of the “OMG we’re all gonna die!” persuasion. I have no bloody clue as I’m not an epidemiologist or even a health care professional, and even those have conflicting opinions. I rely on the media just like you lot. So I don’t know – and neither do you. It may well turn out to be fine. But come on, “the media are feeding us this to detract from the recession”? Give me a break!

I can happily say though that due to my probably weakened immune system I am less susceptible to succumbing to cytokine storm. And due to my antisocial disposition I am less likely to meet someone who has the flu to start with. Maybe I should reconsider going to the Placebo concert tho… (ack!)

PS I think this will count as today’s entry, rather than a “proper version” of yesterday’s. As you know I’m off to Norway today (wheee), will get there quite late, and probably be too lazy to update. I will also be busy cuddling dogs of various sizes and fluffinesses. 😀


stagiaire said on Apr 30, 2009 at 7:41 am

LOL, you’re bored with ME then. But I said to my dad yesterday, that I don’t know why to worry, we just put people into quarantine and that’s it. No “overreaction” necessary. That’s my approach in the end. Doesn’t mean I’m not taking things into consideration, I’m just relaxed.

But yesterday there was a woman on TV who said it was a virus spread by governments to kill people, so we do not overpopulate too much. God help, I’m not that crazy thinking of it as such a conspiracy.

Clarissa said on Apr 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

LOL yeah but you’re just one of countless people doing the same thing. I think what sparked this entry (started 2 days ago) was some readers’ comments on the BBC news site. They were a lot more extreme than you. :))

Tbh I don’t see an overreaction happening at all, sure there’s lots of media coverage, but there’s also lots happening (new cases in new countries, WHO raising the threat level etc).

Wow @ the conspiracy theory. Fact is tho that in the past, epidemics have often been a “good” way to keep the population down (and not in a conspiracy or “God punishing us” way, but because the more people you get in one spot, the easier it is for epidemics to spread, esp. as this historically meant poor hygiene conditions).

Now we have much better hygiene, and better medical care, which means these natural measures of regulating overpopulation don’t have much effect. One could argue that this is a bad thing. (and if we wanted to spin conspiracy theories we could – hypothetically – imagine that governments would deliberately let the virus spread, or even try to direct it to specific countries with known overpopulation issues. This obviously isn’t happening here, but I could totally see that happening a few decades from now, when we reach the point where there simply isn’t enough food and water to go round even for us Western countries)

But that’s a whoooole ‘nother can of worms! 😀

Mon said on Apr 30, 2009 at 5:44 pm

*lol* you’re usually one of the “ugh you’re overreacting” people, and NOW you’re ANNOYED with other people who think you are overreacting.

it’s just a flu, you won’t die unless you’re young or old or ill or something. 😀

Clarissa said on Apr 30, 2009 at 6:22 pm

lol but you know I like to be controversial. (and it wasn’t about me overreacting, since I’ve never even said anything until today. I was talking about people saying the media & officials are blowing it out of proportion when actually it’s a potentially big thing)

Aaaaand if you’d paid attention (or read the cytokine storm link) you’d know that virulent virus strains like this one can kill young and healthy people because their immune system goes into overdrive. Hence what I said about my weakened one being good.

The Wiki entry about the 1918 flu pandemic is also quite interesting. Not that I think you actually care. :))

Tobias said on May 1, 2009 at 12:06 pm

From a statistically point of view this is just another flu. There is absolutely no difference to the other yearly flu waves. In fact the numbers of yearly flu deaths in Europe are way higher then those of currently infected(!) ones by swine flu. So yes, there is a huge overreaction. This is not even close to the Spanish flu of 1918/19.

Clarissa said on May 1, 2009 at 9:52 pm

If by statistical you mean purely the number of deaths so far, sure. But this virus strain differs in that, for instance
1. we have no antibodies
2. there is no vaccine
This thing has the POTENTIAL to kill lots of people. Lots more than normal flu strains.
Hence the precautions taken.
I’m on roaming otherwise I’d write more. lol

Tobias said on May 1, 2009 at 9:58 pm

For now it seems the normal medicine against flu does in fact work. And how many deaths of the swine flu are there worldwide? Not more than 20. In Germany alone every year ca. 4000 people die because of the “normal” flu.

Clarissa said on May 2, 2009 at 9:44 pm

But in percentage rates the mortality is much higher! If I remember right it was 4-5% for swine flu last time I had access to figures, and our “normal” flu strains have sth like 0.5%!!! So if this spreads LIKE normal flu does every year, more people die.

And STOP FRIGGIN’ replying, i’m stuck in the middle of nowhere & this is costing me a fortune. We can continue on Monday when I’m back in Ås. You can do your research til then so you have facts to back up your claims & I’ll do the same during Monday 😀


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