The swine flu outbreak had me thinking: presumably the very nature of infectious diseases means that, if you want to beat them, you have to act fast and take large-scale measures. You have to act, every time, as though this one is The Big One because if it is, then time is of the essence.
But of course it means the authorities are open to accusations of needless alarmism and crying wolf. This is the third ‘pandemic’ this decade, after SARS and bird flu; how many times can we have these alerts before people stop taking them seriously?
Although as long as governments keep taking them seriously, perhaps it would be no bad thing if the media treated them more as routine news stories and less like the first horseman of the apocalypse had just appeared.
I’m assuming, btw, that the swine flu is not going to be the pandemic that kills us all. I hope I’m not tempting fate.