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Anorak | A Wing And A Prayer

A Wing And A Prayer

by | 17th, October 2005

‘“BIRD FLU WILL HIT BRITAIN AND KILL 50,000,” promises the front page of the Mail. It’s the chief medial officer’s “chilling prediction”.

‘Add some more curry sauce and they’ll never taste the difference’

Sir Liam Donaldson says it’s “inevitable” infected birds will arrive in the UK and the deadly virus will, as the Mail says, start “jumping from person to person”.

“We can’t make this pandemic go away, it’s a natural phenomenon,” says Donaldson. “What we can do is limit the impact.”

But surely we can do more than that? We saw off Sars, Hitler, anthrax and mad cow disease, so why not this flu?

Not a hope, says the Mail’s Geoffrey Lean. “Bird flu’s deadly knock is at our very door,” says he. And for it we can blame the Government.

How? Is the flu the result of lax border security? Are birds piling over from the continent like so many illegal Chinese workers?

This is the “greatest threat to public health since the Black Death,” writes Lean, overlooking cholera, Spanish flu, Asian flu, Hong Kong flu, MRSA superbugs and more.

This news of a Black Death-style plague on the way makes for exciting copy. And if you can somehow link the arrival of bird plague to the Government’s “increasing bureaucracy” and “an obsession with targets” in the NHS, as Lean does, then so much the better.

But not everyone is so sure we’re doomed. While the Mail adopts a siege mentality and employs hacks to shoot anything that moves, the Sun says: “Don’t panic.”

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Posted: 17th, October 2005 | In: Tabloids Comment | Follow the Comments on our RSS feed: RSS 2.0 | TrackBack | Permalink