Panic over swine flu in NZ

Posted by Bel. The time is 6:37pm here in Wellington, NZ.

Conversations in workplaces and homes, and not to mention media coverage, have been dominated since the weekend with the imminent threat of infectious swine flu – despite the fact that nobody in New Zealand has actually been confirmed as having the disease.

Stay away! Danger!

Sales in the over-the-counter anti-viral drug Tamiflu have already gone up in New Zealand (it costs $75 for a 5 day hit, by the way) and you know who thinks that’s nothing to sniff at... Big Pharma. As the already wobbly stockmarkets around the world take another hit in the face of the global panic, both Roche and GlaxoSmithKline (multinational drug manufacturers, for those of you not as familiar with your local pharmacy products as me...) have seen as their stocks go up over the last few days.

There is an excellent article here on Mother Jones, a follow up on the journalist’s piece for the Village Voice in 2005 on avian flu.
It’s worth a read, if not solely for the reminder that we have been here before – and some people made a lot of money from it.

And, let me repeat, no one in New Zealand has even been diagnosed with confirmed swine flu yet. In this Dominion Post article, they are saying that the kids from Rangitoto College are supposedly on their way to recovery... What kind of pandemic is that?!

Here’s my transcript of TV3’s John Campbell’s insightful and incisive journalism last night, as he interviewed Dr Mark Jacobs, the NZ Director of Public Heath:

John Campbell: ZOMG SWINE FLU!!!!1

Dr Mark Jacobs: We are moderately concerned.


Dr Mark Jacobs: We are less concerned than we were about avian flu. And look how that turned out here.


Is there a chance that John Campbell has CJD? Because he is acting WHACK. You can watch the clip here and see him stirring shit up for yourself.

A note: please don't take my cynicism and flippancy as disregard for the deaths that have occurred in other countries. I just think that we need to be careful about how the situation is handled here - hopefully without unnecessary scaremongering and playing into the hands of big business instead of looking after the little people.

2 thoughts on “Panic over swine flu in NZ”

  1. I fucking love this comment someone wrote in response to the article:

    "Liberals are angry, resentful monkey children operating like kindergarten gangsters..."