Friday 24 July 2009

What Me Worry

As if we hadn't got enough to worry about, what with killer chipmunks, Japanese knotweed, and pregnant tortoises falling out of the sky, the Swine Flu panic has entered a new phase with the startup of the government's dedicated phoneline and website - which, we were solemnly informed by the BBC, was getting up to 2,600 hits a second (and they can't have all been journalists and saboteurs). It's an impressive hit rate - in fact if they'd kept it up, every man, woman and child in the UK could have hit at least once within 7 hours, and in less than a fortnight the entire population of the world. What is going on? It seems to me to have all the appearances of a classic panic. And unfortunately it's sensitised us all. The Yard thought he'd got it on Wednesday, and I thought I'd got it yesterday morning (though on reflection I plumped for a diagnosis of Ague). Needless to say, we are both fine. One thing I do know for certain is that, if I had good grounds for believing I really had Swine Flu, the last thing that would cross my mind would be to avail myself of the government's phonelines or websites.


  1. A really classic panic. It's the name as much as anything - a special kind of flu, instead of just flu, which is always with us.

  2. Haha, Dick. That might tie in with the question a reporter was allegedly asked when he called the helpline: "Are you unconscious?" Nige is right, though. It all seems a little panicky (and profitable, worryingly, for the phone and drug companies). I think if it was renamed the Michael Jackson Swine Flu Memorial Line then our entire national grid would blow out in one huge telephone call. Still, we are fortunate that modern treatments exist. They didn't used to.