Friday, 11 September 2009
UK 'winning the swine flu battle'?
The latest swine flu figures are out and show a continuing decrease in swine flu activity across the UK. In fact, judging by some of today's newspaper reports Britain is "tantalisingly close" to beating swine flu. A very positive headline but I'm not sure it's borne out by the rest of Sir Liam Donaldson's comments at the press conference. Even he admitted at the same press conference that people will die of swine flu in the UK this winter. It's a given. And the idea that Britain (currently the sick man of Europe on the swine flu map) could beat it is nonsensical. Sir Liam's precise quote was: "I think we are tantalisingly close to being able to win the battle against this pandemic" but no journalist seems to have asked the follow-up question "What precisely do you mean 'being able to win the battle'?". That 'winning battle' headline will no doubt come back to haunt Sir Liam. And just in case we get too complacent, the UK recorded another five deaths in the last week bringing the total to 75. The question needs to be asked why the UK has such a disproportionate number of deaths from swine flu compared with other European countries, and why they are still continuing despite a dramatic fall in swine flu activity.