It is almost impossible for the layperson to rationally determine the seriousness of any new disease and whether it has the potential to be the next Black Death. I’m thinking of the new Swine ‘Flu, which has replaced the old Bird ‘Flu as the latest Terror. It’s impossible to judge because of the modern tendency to dismiss science in favour of tree hugging, hippy, holistic nonsense. And the commercial needs of newspapers who have to make mountains out of molehills to sell in this internet age. Not to mention the internet itself which encourages fear and belief in conspiracy theories. And ambulance-chasing lawyers causing us to overreact to everything to avoid lawsuits.
I have no doubt that a new human virus is of more danger than global warming, and for the record I’d like to add other things that are of more pressing concern than global warming: terrorism; cyber attacks; computer viruses; (even worse) global financial meltdown; everything really thanks to the ‘global village’ problem.
So I have my own way of determining the seriousness of any new threat to human life, it’s called the Celebrity Death Test, and I hope you find it useful. The way it works is simple, if a Celebrity dies from the Threat then it is to be taken Seriously, if they don’t then it’s probably nothing to worry about. Bird ‘Flu, fine. AIDS, not fine. I can remember when Rock Hudson died, that was the moment when AIDS became real for me. (I’m also a fan of Doris Day, read into that what you will!) You see how it works? It’s just a statistics thing. If a Celeb suffers from it (and assuming it’s not something that has a natural correlation with Celebrity or is self inflicted) then it is statistically significant for the rest of us.
BTW your intrepid reporter is due to lecture in Mexico City in a few weeks. All being well I shall give you news from the frontline, possibly from behind a face mask.