Swine Flu – a cause for celebration?

These last two years may not go down in history as a great time – a time dominated by economic recession and gloom and doom. Yet, should we now be celebrating a near miss from catastrophe, a success in avoiding a major disaster? Where some 64,500 people in the UK are alive who were predicted to die.

Just two years ago the Government’s chief medical officer, Professor Sir Liam Donaldson, said that in the worst case scenario 30% of the UK population could be infected by the H1N1 virus, with 65,000 killed – and even a best case scenario of 5% of the population contracting the virus, with 3,100 deaths.

The reality was as an estimated 457 deaths attributed to the strain according to the Health Protection Agency (April 8 2010)

Certainly, each of these cases is a tragedy (although in many instances there were underlying other causes) and maybe we should not tempt fate with the potential for a more virulent and deadly swine flu.

But just think about it; we were contemplating another Black Death and what we got was more Millennium Bug.

Nearly one in three of us were predicted to get infected and some 65,000 of us – almost a Wembley crowd – would die.

The NHS news web site has now put Swine Flu on stand down, as it reports: At present swine flu activity in the UK is at a very low level and this page is not being updated. It there is a resurgence in swine flu numbers, this service will be reinstated

With news of Government cut backs and on-going economic doom and gloom is there a need for more balance in our worldview?

No matter how savage the public sector cutback, hoow bad the economic doom and gloom we have not witnessed another Black Death.

Previous eras would have seen religious celebrations, praises to heaven and thanks for salvation. Today, it is just yesterday’s news, today’s chip wrapper (by the way, are there any chip shops in Britain still using old newspapers to wrap their fish and chips?)

Through the Flexible Thinking Forum I am calling on the Government to declare a national  day of celebration (as the religious groups are not seizing the initiative in being the focus for salvation)  – albeit a no cost one to the public purse. Why not have a national party to celebrate our seeming good fortune?

Perhaps we should have a special bacon sandwich to celebrate (with a suitable alternative for non pork or meat eaters).

Rather than let the occasion slip away unnoticed our good fortune needs to be recognised as part of our reality, our life.

The Swine Flu episode is not that the experts got it horribly wrong. A pandemic akin to the havoc caused by the Spanish flu of 1918 will happen again. We were lucky this time. Let us celebrate our good fortune

We could call it ‘Swine Flu-Didn’t-Have-You-Day’ or something more memorable and meme friendly.

What might appear to be a frivolous suggestion is a plea for everyone to get matters in some degree of proper perspective. Whatever problems may come our way we need to cope. And recognise that they are in no way as bad as another Black Death.

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