Does anyone remember SARS?
This mighty disease appeared out of nowhere in 2003 started, by the sound of it, by pirates. It briefly threatened to conquer the whole world, then faded into obscurity, like a medical version of Oasis.
Our wonderful government’s reaction at the time was to ban the Down Syndrome children of five countries from participating in the Special Olympics here, an event for which they had presumably been training for years. This action might have been deemed harsh but prudent if they had followed this argument to its logical conclusion and banned all travel to and from those countries, but businessmen were still allowed to go where they wished, since business is more important than, well, life.
And now we have the swine flu sweeping in from Mexico (I can’t hear the phrase without imagining Inspector Clousseau sneezing and then muttering “shvine fleu”). More potent than SARS, more threatening than bird flu, apparently deadlier even than manflu, impossible though that sounds.
Expect our government to ban us from wearing ponchos or using piggy banks.
Oh, and people at the Munster v Leinster match on Saturday will not be allowed to do the Mexican wave.