**7.52am** update at end of post.
It is a very good sign that the rate of infection is not accelerating, although I want to wait at least a week or two before I firmly denounce this whole thing a case of media hysteria and over-reaction by the government.
By overstating the danger from this infection, and quickly moving to act on the event...it is a win-win situation for the government because if there is little danger of this thing killing as many people as the regular flu...then they can claim a success in stopping the disease. They can say.... "give us more money and we can stop even worse stuff than this."
If the Swine Flu of 2009 turns out to be able to kill tens of thousands, then they can say..."we didn't have enough money, give us more money so we can be better prepared."
Remember that the more money government (Federal, State, and Local) pours into education...the worse the education system becomes. It will be the same with health care.
I am very dismayed at the World Health Organization (WHO), who (pun intended) appears to be stoking the fires of hysteria:
The plea came as the WHO raised the swine flu threat awareness level to 5 out of 6, indicating that the world is on the brink of a pandemic.Source: UK Telegraph
Holland and Switzerland both confirmed their first cases of swine flu on Thursday, bringing the total number of countries affected around the world to 11.
In Mexico there have been eight confirmed deaths from the virus, with another 160 suspected swine flu fatalities.
There have been 93 confirmed cases in the US, 19 in Canada, 13 in New Zealand, five in Britain, four in Germany, 10 in Spain, two in Israel, and one in Austria.
The US has confirmed the first death outside of Mexico on Wednesday, while a further "probable" case of swine flu has emerged in Glasgow, Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond told MSPs today. The new case is someone with travel links to an affected area, but he also disclosed that Iain and Dawn Askham - the first confirmed cases of the disease - had now been released from Monklands Hospital in Lanarkshire, where they had been receiving treatment in an isolation ward.
Dr Margaret Chan, the WHO director-general, urged all countries to activate their pandemic plans as she made the announcement on Wednesday night.
Phase 5 indicates that there is evidence of the virus being spread from human-to-human in at least two countries in one WHO region. Phase 6, the pandemic phase, is characterised by increased and sustained transmission in the general population.
Dr Chan said that the world was better prepared for an influenza pandemic than at any time in history.
You and I can do more than all the governments in the world put together to stop the spread of the Swine Flu by merely washing our hands, covering our mouths when we cough or sneeze, and by the frequent application of alcohol-based hand cleaners.
Stay safe, everyone...and don't panic just because someone on TV (or from the government) paints a bad picture so you will stay tuned to be scared even more.
"The nine most terrifying words in the English language are:
'I'm from the government and I'm here to help.'"
**7.52am** Update: Then there are stories like this one circulating on the fringes...