Here in Indianapolis, Indiana the 24 hour news channels are still filled with reports, advice, discussions, interactive maps, questions and not to many answers about the swine flu. And a quick skirt around international news websites shows it’s still the top story in much of the developed world. But is it all overreaction? When a plane crew refuses to board a plane headed to Mexico, and Russia bans meat imported from America because of flu fears, does it show that in countries where we generally have life pretty good, that we overreact when things go slightly not according to plan?
I’m writing this from Indiana because Ros was sent back home after being in Mexico because we decided it wouldn’t be fair to try and speak to all the people you need to when making radio programmes if he had just been in the epicentre of the virus. Was that an overreaction? Given that in countries like America and the UK people infected with swine flu have almost all been treated successfully with drugs, and the only people who have died are young children is putting people in quarantine unnecessary?
People living in poor countries deal with outbreaks of infectious and non-infectious disease all the the time, calmly and sensibly. TB is endemic in much of Africa and a potentially more dangerous illness than swine flu, but you don’t see people walking around the streets of Lagos or Kampala with masks on their faces.
Do we need to get a grip? Or is the reaction appropriate for what is still an unknown quantity?