Brilliant news: a boy in my son’s year at school has got swine flu. This means that Boy will be contracting it any minute now, I’ll be contracting it when he comes home this weekend, so if you want to pop round to my place, say, Sunday evening for a cool infected glass of Budwar, I’d say we’ll all be nicely sorted before the summer hols. If anyone famous is reading this, we could maybe even get sponsorship from Hello!
Or is this jolly sick of me? Yes, I appreciate in rare cases, when there are complications, that swine flu can be fatal, but you could say the same thing about any medical complaint under the sun from chicken pox to ingrown toenails. The point is, as we all know from anecdotal evidence, the current strain of swine flu is generally so innocuous that there are kids who’ve already had it without even realising it. We also know, because the “experts” have been telling us as much, that come Autumn swine flu is going to go – ahem – viral, infecting many more people and mutating into a much nastier version guaranteed to wipe out half the known universe.
Hence the birth of “swine flu” parties, which I’ve hitherto imagined to be an urban myth (do you know anyone who’s held one?), but which the BBC now reports really are happening, er, somewhere though it doesn’t appear to know quite sure where (hence its desperate question: Are you having a swine flu party?)
A doctor called Dr Jarvis is quoted in the piece is saying this is a bad idea. Here are his lame reasons why:
I have heard of reports of people throwing swine flu parties.
I don’t think it’s a good idea. I would not want it myself.
It is quite a mild virus, but people still get ill and there is a risk of mortality
But he added that if people actively sought to get flu, health services may not be able to act in the same way as they are doing now.
The approach to date – although it is changing in the areas such as Birmingham and London which have the largest outbreaks – has been based on containment.
This has involved close monitoring of flu patients and giving their close contacts drugs to try to prevent the virus developing.
Dr Jarvis said: “If we get to the point where containment is not possible we will not be able to monitor cases as closely or get anti-virals out as quickly. Will we consider it a mild virus then?”
Sorry, but I don’t buy into this argument at all. If this flu is as virulent as “experts” say, then surely we’re all going to get it sooner or later. So this containment policy is just putting off the evil hour. Plus wasting thousands of taxpayer pounds giving Tamiflu to not-that-ill people who really don’t need it. Plus denying us the chance to get the nice friendly mild version now in preference to the evil killer one which is bound to strike just as we’re sitting down to eat our Christmas dinner.
What do we want? SWINE FLU. When do we want it? NOW!