"Governments, hospitals and people are rushing to get supply of Tamiflu and Relenza",
"Drugs, masks and thermometers out of stock"
Major player Smitech (ASia) sold 250,000 digital thermometers here last week, five times more than last year. Another, Futron Electronics, ordered half a million digital thermometers last week. 'Everyone the world over is buying a thermometer now,' said Smitech managing director Christopher Koh.
Wow, that really sounds scary, doesn't it?
First of all, let me make it very clear: There is no room for complacency and we have to retain certain measures to contain a potential outbreak!
Having said that, I got a feeling that some officials are over reacting also. Sure this is a novel disease in its first days and we don't know how it's going to turn out. However let me just give you some facts for comparison:
The H1H1 virus has 1269 confirmed cases and so far 26 died in Mexico. 2 people died in the US. Just an hour ago a second US death was confirmed.
The SARS virus between Nov 2002 and July 2003 had 8437 known infected cases and 813 deaths.
Now lets compare these numbers with the annual "common" flu which is a big killer every year with our without a pandemic. WHO estimates upward of 250,000 to 500,000 people are killed year after year and 3 to 5 million a year are
Even in Singapore which doesn't have a clear flu season one person dies every 15 hours due to the "normal" flu!
These are numbers that scare me way more than the Swine flu.
What are the measurements governments are taking against these numbers besides flu vaccine promotions? Only now they are making noise and ask people to conduct good hygiene in washing hands or ordering more "spring cleaning" in hawker centres.
Shouldn't that be done on a regular base since we know this is at least one step to prevent flu? What about restarting another campaign to stop spitting in public! Yup you hear right, I still see cabbies (other folks as well) stopping at red lights opening the door and spitting it out!
There would be so much more we all could do but that would take a day to write about.
Well finally, to be "fair and balanced", not just the
Pharma industry but medical supply companies (masks, thermometers, etc) as well and not to forget all the online pharmacies with many of them selling fake drugs to people that have been scared by the media hype are making lots of money!
Of course exaggerated headlines in media reports do scare people, but who cares as long as you can get folks listen or buy!
Yes these viruses sell!