Thursday, April 30, 2009

Pandemic Alert: What does it Really Mean?

Well I see the World Health Organization has kicked up it's Pandemic Alert from stage four to stage five.

But what does it really mean?

Answer: Not much. Especially if you live in a developed country like Canada where pandemic preparations are well advanced.

It's really aimed at the developing countries where millions of poor people are vulnerable to any kind of flu. And their governments need to assess their emergency response capabilities...and ask for help if necessary.

Instead of doing stupid things like this.

And so people everywhere can be encouraged to do the simple things that can make a difference. Like washing their hands. Or staying home if they get sick.

Instead of just freaking out.

What it also means is that it probably won't be long before we move from level five to level six...the Pandemic Phase. Because the difference between the two is minimal.

But that only means the bug is spreading widely, and it doesn't mean we're all going to DIE.

Because we still don't know how deadly this bug really is. And there is room for optimism.

The virus could still turn out to be relatively harmless. Just a few days of discomfort....or a another good reason to call in sick.

Which is why I'm not panicking yet.

And the only thing I'm worried about right now is how the hell am I supposed to look cool and sexy this summer ?

Dressed like this....

And what about my poor dog? He LOVES pork chops.

You know I think I once read that every time you laugh you boost your immune system.

So my advice to everyone right now is don't panic. Prepare for the worst. Wash your hands. Laugh like your life depended on it.

And let your health professionals do the worrying...


pogge said...

And keep in mind that often these announcements are procedural triggers. A jurisdiction may declare a "public health emergency" because that's the legislated trigger that allows public health officials to take certain steps, such as allocate stockpiled drugs or reassign personnel.

Simon said...

Hi Pogge ...that's true it does give the green light to a number of procedures. But most hospitals are already operating as if we are at level six. What it also does is force the medical establishment to decide whether it wants to throw all its resources into producing a vaccine for this latest virus, instead of for next year's seasonal variety. And at this point that's still a very difficult choice...