Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Dr Simon Jenkins

Dr Jenkins shares his well informed views of how trivial swine 'flu is:
...a condition correctly diagnosed by a Dulwich 12-year-old during the initial outburst of hysteria in May as "like a cold"

...the one thing not to take is Tamiflu...People should take an aspirin.
After all, who are you going to trust, doctors and scientists who have dedicated their lives to studying and treating disease, trying their best to plan and advise based on incomplete information, or some bloke in the pub?

If swine 'flu turns out to kill a lot of people this Autumn* then Jenkins should really be forced to confront his words***. Of course, it probably won't, further inflating his dick swinging braggadocio, until we finally do get a pandemic viral illness (which we will eventually) - when he'll be clamouring to know why more wasn't done**. Ah, the privilege of consequence free comment pieces, the life of a journalist is so easy - you get to feel so important while doing fuck all. Reminds me a little of the greatest intellectual struggle of our time.

EDIT: Heh, Gimpy got there first, pointing out that aspirin shouldn't be used in children, although there are plenty of other errors tackled in the comments to Jenkins's article. Also jonnyhead covers it and the Times's Mark Henderson.

* I really hope it doesn't, not least because it'll mean I have to deal with the consequences at work as everyone in the NHS goes off sick or to look after their children, leaving me with a massive workload and lots of really sick patients trying their hardest to infect me.

** And, I'd be willing to bet, making demands that health workers and/or other people (e.g. patients or healthy people depending on whether he's caught it) risk their own health to preserve his.

*** According to Gimpy, it would appear he's already been wrong about another viral epidemic - so it looks like it probably wouldn't bother him. Here's Jenkins on AIDS/HIV:
"Aids has been confined largely to homosexuals and drug abusers, whose activities put them at risk of blood contamination and leave them vulnerable to lethal disease. There are some Aids cases outside the “high-risk” groups, but numbers are tiny: 60 at most in Britain. As far as Britain is concerned, the plague appears to be passing."


Anonymous said...

until we finally do get a pandemic viral illness

It constantly amazes me how all these people discounting the dangers of global pandemics forget about HIV, Yellow Fever, , Spanish flu, measles and Polio, to name just some global pandemics that have killed and crippled millions in living memory.

Anonymous said...

The man is a menace and a good example of why learning maths and science are not a waste of time.

Neuroskeptic said...

gimpy - they were within "living memory" but not recent enough to be really memorable, I think. We in the West have had it very easy in terms of infectious diseases for the past few decades.

obviously the rest of the world's been suffering but Simon Jenkins is not the only person who doesn't care about them.

Whereas there have been a number of "false starts" recently, namely BSE, avian flu, SARS. Any of those could easily have killed millions but (entirely through luck so far as I can see) didn't.

Basically, and sadly, we are living at the one time in history when (western) people have the luxury of forgetting about infectious diseases.

pj said...

Measles and MMR of course come to mind - 'we all got measles when we were young and it didn't do us any harm [those of us that lived and had no long-term damage that is]'