Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Pig ignorant

(nb. I ain't DK)

Colossal scepticism tends to be the soundest response whenever a new 'pandemic' is announced, especially when the headlines...

How swine flu could be a bigger threat to humanity than nuclear warfare

(Daily Mail)


...are so utterly at odds with what the people who know what they're talking about are actually saying:
"If the avian flu H5N1 virus had spread from human to human like this then I would be extremely worried. It would be top of my Richter scale.

But this swine flu worries me less because as a population we have a basic immunity to H1N1. Outside of Mexico there have been no deaths, so it doesn't seem so aggressive.

And not only are we coming up to the summer, which makes it less likely for these viruses to spread as well, but Britain has enough antiviral drugs for half of the population.

So we should not panic in any way." 
(Prof. John Oxford)

Mishearing the advice to "not panic in any way" as "panic anyway", the press are telling us that swine 'flu will kill up to 120 million people.

Which it won't. 

Bird 'flu was supposed to kill 150 million people before it emerged that you virtually had to have penetrative sex with a chicken to stand any chance of catching it. SARS was also supposed to kill millions but that disappeared within a year. Neither 'pandemic' killed more than a thousand people worldwide (less than are killed by boring old English 'flu every winter), and none of them were in the UK. 

A 2006 report in The Lancet predicted that a future 'flu epidemic will kill 62 million, including up to 700,000 in the UK. Good news for the in-no-way sinister Optimum Population Trust if it happens, but, as Spiked have pointed out, that is not very likely (Leg-Iron begs to differ). The chances are that swine 'flu will kill a few hundred people, with tequila-drinking pig-fuckers at most risk, and then fizzle out.

Or so I had thought, but Gordon Brown's worryingly familiar response to the threat has sent a chill up my spine:

"Swine flu is an international problem..."

"Britain is among the best-prepared countries in the world..."

"We will all take action to ensure that these fears are allayed..."


See? No need to worry. Gordon the warden is going to take whatever action is necessary, Britain is best prepared to weather the storm, and anyway it's a global problem.


Oh fuck.


38 comments:

xelent said...

"See? No need to worry. Gordon the warden is going to take whatever action is necessary"

"Oh fuck."

LOL, very good FS. However, I'm intrigued, where do these scare stories come from?.. Could it be work shy fops from the WHO who put these out.. In the hope of yet more FREE cash.. Hmmn, I wonder..

Anonymous said...

Bird 'flu was supposed to kill 150 million people before it emerged that you virtually had to have penetrative sex with a chicken to stand any chance of catching it.Now I'm worried.

The psychologically flawed Father of the Nation can take time out from kicking some embers around Auschwitz to come out with some meaningless platitudes about a problem which does not exist - unlike the slavery he has sold us into for a generation.

Whilst he goes on his semi-world tour, rightfully being decried wherever he goes wasting yet more of my money, stealing it from my pocket, the economy here which feeds this egregious cunt and his malformed party of parasites and sycophants is haemorrhaging.

The sooner these arrogant fucks get a visit from the Tumour Bunny, the better. Hopefully one of their nice shiny CCTV cameras will get a close-up of their syphilitic faces drawn into rictus when they're told it's inoperable, and it will end up on YouTube for our enjoyment.

Harriet Harman: Cancer of the jaw. Nasty and slow, just like her.
Jacqui Smith: Bowel cancer - too many kebabs. With five bellies, she's keep the sawbones busy.
Mandelson: Rectal cancer. No particular reason.
Balls: Oh, come on, this is too easy.
Millibands: One gets renal cancer, has them both out, takes a donor kidney from his brother, then they both develop it.
Martin: Tempted to say liver or pancreas, but they're too fast for my liking. Leukaemia.
Snot-gobbler: Buccal - it's got to be.

So there's my list, Santa, I'll be a good boy all year.

Kay Tie said...

"SARS was also supposed to kill millions but that disappeared within a year."

And you think that it "disappeared" within a year because, oh, the media stopped reporting? Or was it maybe, just maybe, because of a worldwide effort by the various medical authorities to stamp it out?

It was highly infectious, and killed more than 700 people (10% of the people who caught it). Belittling the danger, the disease and the the efforts of tens of thousands of medical professionals who fought hard and successfully stamped it out just shows us all that you are an ignorant twat. Go away.

ChrisM said...

Clearly the media are going to go with the most dramatic scenarios possible to sell copy. That does not change the fact that pandemics that kill 10s of millions HAVE happened before, and there is no to believe that they will never again appear.

Given enough time simple statistics suggest that eventually the doom merchants are going to be correct. And even given modern medicalcare, many possible scenarios would see medical services overwhelmed.

I agree the mail et al will exagerate and even make shit up to sell copy. I also can well imagine that politicians will seek to turn and distort things to their own self interest. That does change the fact that one year one of these stories is going to likely to turn out to be a real problem.

Wossat? said...

"Britain is among the best-prepared countries in the world..."

Yeah, that one got me too. I mean, we've heard it before haven't we.

Oh fuck, indeed.

Roger Thornhill said...

What Kay Tie says. SARS was nailed in part because people put in scanners at airports, isolated them and made people aware.

But, as always, Gordon talks about managing perception, not reality. We want him to take all action so there is no pandemic, THEN we can decide about "fears". His focus is on the fears, not rolling up sleeves to get THINGS done. Do THINGS Gordon, don't spend all your time giving a pretence that things are being done.

Alan Douglas said...

Brown : "Swine flu ... Britain is among the best-prepared countries in the world ..."

Well, if that does not halve the UK population, nothing will.

Alan Douglas

North Northwester said...

"Bird 'flu was supposed to kill 150 million people before it emerged that you virtually had to have penetrative sex with a chicken to stand any chance of catching it."

Wasn't that how you got a safe Labour seat without Tony Blair's blessing?

http://therantingkingpenguin.blogspot.com/2009/04/one-promise-that-nuliebore-will-keep.html

Anonymous said...

Kay Tie, he isn't belittling medical professionals but just saying that if they did what they did before, it is quite likely that only a few hundred will die (which is still too many for any other country). But those other countries have the SARS experience and their mistakes to draw upon. If it actually gets bad here, do you think the doctors and nurses who die will get state funerals? It will be an excuse to promote some managers. "Oh I know what I did wrong and led to 1000 people dying, so I won't resign in case it happens again" "We should have less doctors in contact with patients so they don't catch the flu"

Anonymous said...

Have you noticed how much time the Beeb is spending on this non-story?

I expect it is the best news he snotgobbler has had in a long time. Suddenly he is hardly in the news.

Daily labourgraph seems to be devoting quite a lot of space to it as well.

Do you think it's all been pumped up by the snotgobblers minions at number 10?

A good day to bury bad news?

Shaun said...

I'm with Reagan:

"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, 'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"

Gareth said...

Empty vessels make the most noise and Labour have been making a racket for 12 years, and the media have helped them every step of the way.

Every incident is inflated to try and make them look competent. It never quite works.

The Filthy Smoker said...

Kay Tie said...
"Belittling the danger, the disease and the the efforts of tens of thousands of medical professionals who fought hard and successfully stamped it out just shows us all that you are an ignorant twat."
These medical professionals, they will be around to tackle the swine 'flu virus too, yes? So any reasonable estimate of the death toll must factor in their efforts, yes? And yet 120 million people are going to die from it? Bullshit. Bull. Shit.

Maybe in a parallel universe where there is no medical care, quarantine, warnings or vaccinations, such a figure might just about be credible as an absolute worst case scenario. Since we do not live in that parallel universe, it is dishonest fear-mongering to conjure up such a figure, especially when previous predictions have been out by a factor of about twenty thousand.

If anything, swine flu is looking less dangerous than its predecessors for the reasons given in the post (and the death count has just been reduced to seven just as the cranks upgrade the death projections to seven million.)

So you take the figure of 120 million and I - a mere "ignorant twat" - will go with a figure of a few hundred and we'll see who looks a cunt in a few weeks time.

Wossat? said...

I wonder if there's a cure for the thieving cunt epidemic currently doing the rounds in Westminter?

FlipC said...

Hey you can't say Brown isn't taking positive action, we're all going to get a leaflet; woo-hoo!

No doubt a crack team of designers have already been hired for the layout, some nice glossy card stock purchased and so yet more of our money is poured straight down the drain as the recipients chuck it unread into the bin with the rest of the junk.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it will be glossy film card so that it's not recyclable.

Anonymous said...

WE'RE ALL GONNA DIE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I know cuz I read it in the Daily Mail.

So there.

I'M TOO YOUNG TO GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

ChrisM said...

"Maybe in a parallel universe where there is no medical care, quarantine, warnings or vaccinations, such a figure might just about be credible as an absolute worst case scenario. "


Well medical care and vaccinations are no use if they are not specific to the disease in question. We have medical care and vaccinations. We still have an AIDS pandemic because vaccines for diseases other than AIDS will not protect people from AIDS. Quarantine is hardly fool proof. This disease has already spread to most continents, as do many others. (If quarantine was reliable, we wouldn't have pandemics!). And warnings are only any use if there is something one can do with the information. None of which of course justifies the Mails hysterical headlines. But even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. If it isn't this one, it will be one in a few years, or if lucky decades, time.

The Filthy Smoker said...

"But even a stopped clock tells the right time twice a day. If it isn't this one, it will be one in a few years, or if lucky decades, time."By which time no one will be listening because these twats have cried wolf so many times.

ChrisM said...

"By which time no one will be listening because these twats have cried wolf so many times."

It is not the job of the media to report responsibly, it is their job to sell papers. We are all personally responsible for vetting and weighing up the constant stream of information we are exposed to (or seek out).

In this regard, cynics and the naive are similar. Although the naive person believes everything they read, and the cynic believes nothing, they both fail to think for themselves and use their own critical faculties. Skeptism is by far the best attitude.

The Filthy Smoker said...

"Skeptism is by far the best attitude."Which takes us right back to the first line of this post.

ChrisM said...

"Which takes us right back to the first line of this post."

Indeed it does. However although you initially call for skeptism, the post then seems to call for a fair dose of cynism as well (even if you don;t use the word). For example you rightly point out that the media are making ridiculous over blown claims based on no evidence.

However, you then go on to tell us (with even more certainty than the media) that there is nothing to worry about at all, providing little evidence for this assertion.

Highly virulent pandemics do happen every few decades, so the fact that intervening pandemics are not so virulent is certainly no evidence that a coming pandemic will not kill millions. The history is against you on this.

FlipC said...

As an aside is it me or have the media added a new word to their lexicon that they just have to use?

I swear every fourth word seems to be "pandemic".

Kay Tie said...

"So you take the figure of 120 million and I - a mere "ignorant twat" - will go with a figure of a few hundred and we'll see who looks a cunt in a few weeks time."

Who is putting a figure of 120 million about? Media reports. In any case "a few weeks" is not how long pandemics run. SARS started in November 2002 and ran until July 2003. Given that this is your canonical example of a hyped non-story, you'd be best to wait a bit before deciding who looks a cunt.

I have faith that we will beat this. In the 1918 pandemic, the medical professionals were totally stumped: back in 1918 no-one knew about viruses (they thought all infections were bacterial because that's all they could see). They had no idea how to respond.

We have learned a lot since then, and we learned a lot from how we beat SARS. Things that we did well, and things that we didn't. I have faith in the professionals - and none in the media.

Your post was a belittling of the disease, of the medical profession, governments and the media. Only one of those four is responsible for the hype. Not only does it engender unnecessary fear amongst the ignorant, it also engenders unwarranted complacency.

You are just as guilty of spreading misinformation as the mainstream media. Right now what you and the rest of the media can bring to this issue is silence: allow the professionals to get on with the job without the population being turned crazy.

ChrisM said...

"As an aside is it me or have the media added a new word to their lexicon that they just have to use?

I swear every fourth word seems to be "pandemic"."

LOL, yes, just like during bird flu was always "the-killer-H5N1 virus". Still I suppose its marginally better than "swine-gate"

Felix said...

Gordon says he's prepared - guess he'll be among the 30 million brits who will have access to medicine! What if the shit really hits the fan?? learned about this (http://www.easyfluprotection.co.uk
) on sky news on monday. dunno, might actually get my own private medicine supply.

the a&e charge nurse said...

There is a running battle between the evolution of microbes (bacteria, viruses, etc) and treatment for the diseases that arise from them.

Most microbiologists or public health workers have long entertained the possibility that a mutated organism will eventually emerge that will be resistant to if not all, then certainly most available treatments - we are already seeing this with infections such as drug resistant TB.

Flu is bound to be a candidate for a doomsday scenario because it is easily spread, is fatal and new strains evolve faster than the drug technology to treat them.
More worryingly the initial clinical picture can be confused with a benign illness making surveillance or monitoring more of a challenge.

We may be able to blame Broon for many things but not for immutable biological realities - a pandemic will eventually arise, if not today, then tomorrow.

The Filthy Smoker said...

I'm not so sure that history does show that virulent epidemics are becoming more common. Plague used to sweep through Europe every twenty years until the 17th century when it suddenly disappeared. No one knows why. You have to go back to the Spanish 'flu of 1918 to find a really serious outbreak in the West and that came when Europeans were hungry, weak and shagged out after 4 years of trench warfare.

The lesson from history seems to be that as countries develop, they become less prone to viruses, which is why you only really get them in overcrowded, poverty-stricken shit-holes like Mexico City (population: 22 million. deaths from swine 'flu: 7).

The idea that we are just waiting for the big one to wipe us out seems to be based on the belief that there are too many of us and that nature will have to thin us out. That's just misanthropy. Maybe the big one's on its way. Who knows. Maybe the sun will burn out, but I'm not going to panic every time night falls. I'm certainly not going piss vast amounts of money away sending fucking leaflets to 25 million people.

Let's get some perspective here. Bog standard 'flu kills half a million people a year (wikipedia) without attracting comment. SARS, bird flu and swine flu have killed less than 2,000 people between them in a decade.

What makes me think swine 'flu won't be the next Spanish 'flu? I can't be certain and I make no claim to expertise. Go to leg-iron's place for an alternative POV. But I can point to a track record of wild exaggeration by both the press and the WHO. And it is becoming clear that swine 'flu is life-threatening to very few people. And I can point to numerous experts - some of whom has hyped up bird 'flu in the past including that fat heap of shit Liam Donaldson - who think that swine 'flu is very unlikely to turn into something that any reasonable person would call a pandemic ie. will kill vast numbers of people all over the world.

Hiding Under the Stairs said...

I'm still waiting for the CJD epidemic ... or can I go back to eating burgers now?

FlipC said...

Hiding Under the Stairs eats meat! You murderer don't you know cows are people too?

We should all follow their example - stand around all day in enclosed spaces, chewing the cud, and waiting to get milked; that'll make the government's job so much easier.

Ian said...

I don't understand why the WHO should exaggerate. Aren't they supposed to protect us in a responsible way? They've raised the level of influenza pandemic alert from phase 4 to 5 today (http://www.who.int/en/) So is there a real threat or not?

FlipC said...

Ian by sheer coincidence, so judge for yourself.

Stan said...

The whole thing is puffed up to justify the gradual drift towards a world government by corporations - of which the WHO is one (did you vote for them? or the UN? Or WTO? The World Bank? No - me neither). I'm not saying it's a conspiracy - it's no where near organised enough to be that - just a general drift through political consensus.

The Filthy Smoker said...

For a range of views, have a look at:

A level-headed comment piece from Ben Goldacre at The Grauniad.

A sceptical, and very interesting piece from Junk Food Science. Also sceptical is Christopher Booker.

And some hysterical bollocks from The Telegraph and CNN.

FlipC said...

Stan I didn't vote for anyone in WHO, but then again they also have no power over me.

The WHO are a monitoring and advisory centre for governments, if said governments don't want to listen to that advice then there's nothing WHO can do about it.

So far they've acted within the guidelines they've set themselves and reported such to the media who have then gone into a head-spinning frenzy.

Stan said...

"Stan I didn't vote for anyone in WHO, but then again they also have no power over me."

You think so? OK - fair enough. But consider this - your local health trust has no DIRECT power over you either, but they can and do set the regulatory framework that those who do have power over you (the doctors in this example) work and treat you. That is power - and they exercise it - and you didn't vote for them either.

Whether you like it or not - or accept it or not - these bureaucratic corporations have increasing influence (and therefore power) over how you are governed.

I'd also like to point out that virtually every major multinational corporation has a pandemic policy based on WHO guidelines which they are, at this moment, implementing. Still think they have no power over you?

FlipC said...

But Steve if you head down that definition you've got to include almost everyone. I don't elect magistrates or judges yet they're the ones who interpret the legal framework.

I don't elect the central buyers for supermarkets yet they're the ones who determine what choice are on offer for me buy (or not)

You say that corporations have a policy based on WHO guidelines - sorry is that a legal requirement? If they don't have one can WHO start exacting fines and penalties, will they send in their troops.

Stating that is like stating they have a fire procedure based on guidelines drawn up in consultation with the local fire department (who incidentally I also did not elect).

Do they have influence - yes; do they have power - no.

Vicola said...

I've seen 28 Days Later so I know where this is going. I've bought a slingshot and 52 packs of barbecue kebab sticks which I am sharpening ready for when the zombies start rising and patrolling the empty streets. I am also booby-trapping my new home in the cupboard under the stairs and training the dog to attack anyone who looks a bit 'undead'. So far he's bitten 2 drunks and a man across the road who does night-shifts. But I'm sure he'll get the hang of it eventually....