I left Argentina last week, but I want it to be known that this had nothing to do with the fact that Argentina now has the highest death toll of any country from Swine Flu (Gripe Porcina or Gripe A, to give it it’s Spanish name). I can’t believe how much panic the Government have been causing there. After closing the Universities and Schools, they issued a special Police division with green jerseys for dealing with the infection, made all Police wear dust masks, almost banned supporters from the last day of the football season (they decided 3 days before that they would be allowed and so started selling tickets) and advised everyone not to spend long periods of time in crowded environments. So it was, that after buying my tickets for the footy a fly managed to land at the top of my throat just as I was catching the bus. After trying to dislodge it as I bought my ticket I started uncontrollably coughing. Trying to stop the coughing was a mammoth task, and allied with all the eyes that were fixed and slowly retreating away from me, I was getting quite a sweat on. After getting it under control, I felt very alone. I was the only person on that bus without some kind of garment covering their mouth. At least I had plenty of room to move around.
The thing that gets me about this whole thing is that every year hundreds of thousands of people die from the flu. They die from bog-standard, ordinary flu. And that’s just the one’s we know about. It also contributes to deaths from a variety of other illnesses, but never gets mentioned as the cause, because well it’s just the flu isn’t it. Heart disease, coronary illnesses, that’s what people die from. Now that swine flu is the most talked about illness on the planet, it’s really no surprise that it gets one positive diagnosis after another. Any other year, there would have been a footnote about 5 pages in from the back of The Sun, stating that Micah Richards will be missing Man City’s pre-season training because of the flu, now it’s front page.