Pigs might fly: What we’re really thinking on swine flu
PIGS might fly. At least that’s what many Australians believe their chances are of being struck down by swine flu.
Epidemics have a habit of incubating fear and panic. But in cyberspace many people are just getting sick of what they perceive as excessive hype over the swine flu.
While health authorities have been issuing warnings about health and hygiene practices, quarantining suspected flu carriers and closing schools, the measures have been met with skepticism by bloggers to major Australian news forums.
There is a widely-held belief coming through online comments that Australian authorities are over-reacting to the seriousness of the influenza.
Australia’s chief medical officer Jim Bishop warned last week that 2 million people, 10 per cent of the population, could catch swine flu.
But as Brother Lee Love of Brisbane wrote on the Courier Mail online: “More people die from malaria and ordinary, everyday flu each year than have, so far, croaked from pig flu, yet we don’t get this over-the-top beat-up reporting and panicky squeals from health authorities. Let’s get some perspective into this please!”
Not Panicking of Welland saw an irony in the government health warnings, commenting on Adelaide Now: “I like how they say ‘don’t panic’, but fuel panic none the less.”
Concerned of Melbourne, writing on the Herald Sun, was more worried about the impact the flu was having on daily activities: “OK, we shouldn’t be alarmed, but I am worried! Not because I could get the disease, but because people are quarantined when they get it. Not being able to go about your day-to-day life is cause for alarm especially when you have overseas trips planned etc.”
On the lighter side, the virus has also attracted its share of swine flu jokes, such as one contributed by Laurie of Adelaide to Adelaide Now: “It’s not going to be a pandemic, it’s going to be a hamdemic.”
In response to a report that the Federal Government has spent more than $40 million on new doses of antiviral drugs to treat swine flu, Inky wrote on the Courier Mail: “I have no problem that they have just spent $40 million on drugs to save Australian lives. Hang on, they just handed out that much to dead people on the stimulus package!”
Interest in the stimulus package was revived last week when it was revealed how much the Rudd Government had wasted by paying the $900 tax bonus to 16,000 dead people and 27,000 Australians living overseas.
Most bloggers were angry that the bank accounts of the dead had been stimulated in this way.
Possum of Brisbane wrote on the Courier Mail: “I always thought the tax bonus was a dead issue. It should have never been granted to anyone let alone the estates of Australia’s departed.”
Others were jealous that they did not receive the stimulus payment. Vince of Albion wrote: “Wow, maybe I should have played dead and then I too maybe would have got a bonus payment.” On the other hand, fellow blogger NP didn’t think paying dead people was so bad: “Honestly, does it really matter? The purpose of this money was to stimulate the economy. Unless people are suggesting the cheques will be buried or cremated, the estate will receive the funds and the money will be spent or saved. Simple.”
Ha Ha of Brisbane had a ghostly vision of how this money would be spent: “I see dead people - shopping.” Alf of Carindale hinted tongue-in-cheek that the stimulus package could be meant as a pork-barrelling exercise for dead votes: While Rudd might claim the success of the package, stimulating dead people is even beyond him, “Although, they could turn up on the next ALP ballot.”
So it seems even if by some bad luck the swine flu kills you, there is a chance there will be a stimulus package in it for you down the track.
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