I flew into Asia during the SARS outbreak in 2003. So many people told me I was crazy. I just figured if our workers were in the field I shouldn't be concerned about visiting them. I also had my suspicions about the level of anxiety over the epidemic.
On that trip I was in Thailand for the three days of Songkran, the water festival that marks the Thai new year. Just under 800 people died on Thai roads during that three days. Around the same number that died world wide from the SARS outbreak. No one ever told me I was crazy for getting in a Thai taxi or riding a 125cc motorbike out to the villages.
I've ridden in vehicles in both India and China. Every year around 250,000 people die on their roads. Every year over one million people die on the world's roads. Every year regular flu kills around 250,000 to 500,000 people. So why are we so concerned about "swine flu"?
Maybe swine flu will become a global threat to human existence. But like Ebola, SARS, bird flu and the most dangerous disease of all — the Y2K bug— it probably won't.
So why the frenzy? Andrew Bolt has an interesting take on it: "Is it that with God dead, we realise there’s absolutely nothing between us and doom but our giddy selves?"