Because our public health measures that are in place to contain infectious outbreaks before they go pandemic appear to be working well in the case of swine flu (just as they did in the last media panic about bird flu a few years ago), some people are going to believe that these public health measures are less necessary the next time there’s a huge media beat-up about a measured public health response to an infectious outbreak.
I’ve already heard/read some grumbling and complacency.
It’s insane. And you just know that if it HAD been worse and plans hadn’t been in place to deal with it and mitigate the impact as much as possible, all the whingers would be the first ones pointing trembling fingers from their sickbeds about how it’s all the guvmint’s fault for not taking it SERIOUSLY in the first place. Sigh.
Yeah, and I am one of them. I’ve had a great deal of difficulty not being cynical. Government has mostly been sensible, media has been making it pandemic rather than possible pandemic which just makes me think “just another media beat up” despite my understanding to the contrary.
Thinking more seriously about long term plans for when it does happen though.
Ariane’s last blog post..Stupidly named ‘flu of the year
The same is bothering me over here in the USA. Particularly frightening is how public complacency tends to work combined with how new influenza strains tend to work.
New influenza strains are a potential disaster because humans have no previous immunity and because influenza viruses can mutate incredibly quickly. A new strain may seem mild, but there is no guarantee it will not become a killer at any moment.
While previously-existing strains can also mutate in deadly ways, we have two modes of protection against them: Previous exposure renders the population partially immune, and the strain has existed long enough for vaccines to be manufactured and distributed. Neither is true for this current strain.
If people decide the mitigation measures are unnecessary, it might not only affect what happens with future new strains, but with this one. Mutation into a much more deadly flu could well coincide with relaxed mitigation efforts, with ugly results.
The same thing is common in the UK with vaccinations – so many people seem to forget that they are for actual diseases.