Sunday, May 03, 2009

Doves flu: People stokes the panic

If a public health official tells you it might be a good idea not to start a needless panic, that's clearly the signal to, erm, help the Sunday People try and start a panic:

Pig flu victim Iain Askham told last night how he tried to warn health bosses he had been at a packed rock concert while infected with the bug - and was ordered to keep quiet about it.

Askham - or that bloke who caught the flu on his Mexican honeymoon but is doing alright now, what with it being flu and not SARS or anything - had apparently managed to squeeze in a visit to see Doves:
Doves had to axe their show the following night after their drummer Andy Williams, 39, fell ill at the Edinburgh gig.

Are they suggesting that Williams had the swine flu? That he somehow caught it - perhaps from a vague sneeze at the back of the room?

Who better to help stoke the Fear (clever wording - cheers) than a public health official? Or maybe a member of the band? Or, failing that... erm, a shop girl who happened to be at the gig?
Shop assistant Deborah Keogh, 26, was at the rock concert with 29-year-old boyfriend Colin Sutherland. She said last night: "It is shocking, scary really.

"You can see how something like that could have been passed on." Doves drummer Andy began feeling ill during the Edinburgh gig and the band pulled out of next night's show in Leeds. The nature of his illness is not known."

Although he was back behind the drum kit in Manchester, on the 26th, so it's pretty unlikely that he had swine flu, isn't it? But then I can't be sure, I'm neither a health professional, nor work in a shop.

The dull truth - that it would have caused an unnecessary panic to start calling everyone in who'd been at a Doves gig, and would have about as much point as trying to find anyone who might have been in the airport or down Tesco or on the bus with Askham - isn't quite so hysteria-friendly, though, is it?

Still: the possibility of indie music fans getting flu isn't quite an Armageddon scenario. Can you ratchet it up a little, People?
And worryingly, Iain's pal Graeme Pacitti, who caught swine flu off him, revealed yesterday that he was among a crowd of 17,000 people at the Scottish Cup semi-final at Glasgow's Hampden Park stadium last Sunday.

That'll do it. You wonder if they sat in the newsroom, debating if they should add "... and said he couldn't be sure if he'd sneezed all over the pies on the pie stall" to that paragraph.

Doctors say that the long-term prognosis for anyone who is infected with swine flu is "a million or so times better than that of the Sunday People".