Thursday, 23 July 2009

Time to panic

I'm struck by the similarities between how the public react today to swine flu and how they have reacted in the past to similar pandemics such as the plague and Black Death. For a start there's that 'air of inevitably'. We think we're so clever these days with advances in medical science but the same sense of foreboding by folk in the plague years of the 17th century is still felt today. It's coming and there's precious little we can do about it.

With the plague in mind, I was intrigued to see this story in The Daily Telegraph which talks about 400-year-old plague laws being revived by the church to allow intinction (that's where the bread used in communion can be dipped into the wine rather than everyone sharing the same goblet - but you knew that didn't you). How long before we start allowing mass burials or red crosses to be daubed on people's doors?!

Which is the bigger problem? Members of staff who 'skive off' work for two weeks just because they have a sore throat but say it might be swine flu or members of staff who bravely come in to work even though they are coughing, sneezing and obviously infected with something horrible? Answers on a postcard...

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