Read the headlines, and the world is a scary place.
Not as scary as everyday living though – and a lot more dangerous than we might like to think.
Yes, terrorism is awful – and yes, it is deadly. Last year it claimed the lives of 32,727 people worldwide.
Bad & badder
But no lesser person than President Obama claims that global warming is MORE dangerous. Well yes, if you think in natural calamities like hurricanes and tsunamis – the jury is still out long-term.
Closer to home, European statistics put road accident deaths at 25,700 last year – not far off the total for UK deaths from sepsis, a form of blood poisoning that nobody’s heard of, but which is a major killer just the same.
But still chicken-feed against what COULD happen. Even obesity is scarier – like two-thirds of adults and a quarter of children.
Look no further than the government’s National Risk Register of Civil Emergencies.
Top of the list is not terrorism, war, or even natural catastrophe. It’s pandemic influenza – the same killer that wiped out 50 million people in 1918 – more than all fatalities in the whole of World War One.
Our worst nightmare
And it could happen tomorrow.
Lesser outbreaks have already shown how such viruses can spread around the world.
Bird flu, Hong Kong flu, MERS – they just hop on a Boeing, courtesy of some unsuspecting traveller – and they’re there in eight hours, twelve tops.
And beware. As we already know flu viruses are super-CONTAGIOUS.
Yeah, yeah – you know all that stuff about coughs and sneezes.
About the handkerchief to – and trapping germs in your tissue.
But that still leaves your hands – which handle the tissue and dispose of it.
And do everything else for you as well – feed yourself, do things, get you through the day. Including touch your face maybe 2,000 or 3,000 times.
Which is where the pandemic bit really starts – from the shocking facts of life that:
- 62% of men and 40% of women NEVER wash their hands after going to the toilet.
- 95% of people don’t even wash their hands properly.
- Only 12% of people wash their hands before eating.
Kind of inevitable, no?
The ultimate killer
Slightly more menacing than a crazy with an AK47.
And the world has got bigger since 1918. When the world population was 1.8 billion and flu knocked out 1 billion, killing a third of the world’s population – all within the space of 8 weeks.
Now, today, nearly 100 years later, we’re 7.5 billion and counting – do the math.
Better get the soap. It’s a lot easier – and safer – than chasing bad guys.