The UK government is doing its best to keep people from panicking. On the radio we're being informed that swine flu is a mild illness, only to be informed a few minutes later that the 17th person to die from the disease in the country has just died, and that the person was previously healthy and was not known to suffer any underlying health problems. Then some senior medical person in the government comes on air and tells us that the outbreak of the disease is nearing epidemic proportions in the London area, and that GP surgeries are having difficulty coping with the massive influx of people reporting flu-like symptoms. Then a government minister comes on and tells us not to worry and that we will all be ok. Its all very confusing.
I think that there has been a failure by the authorities to contain the outbreak of the disease at the time when they still had the chance to do so and now they are refusing to accept responsibility for this failure or even to acknowledge it. This is only the summer, its not even the flu season yet. They tell us that the outbreak is set to get worse later in the year and that more deaths are inevitable. But at the same time they tell us not to worry.
My friend in Australia told me of the panic in that country when the disease first arrived there. Relying on what the UK government had been saying all along about the disease, I tried to reassure him that it was only a mild ailment and that he need not to worry so much. That was a few weeks ago. Now with the news reports coming through as to how virulent this outbreak has become in the London area and news of the deaths, (two previously healthy people died yesterday), I'm not so sure anymore. In fact, I've become a bit scared. I'm avoiding shaking hands with people, washing my hands at every opportunity and keeping away from all forms of public transport for the time being.