Day 197 – An unfair comparison right now, but still…

Top Tip: Never read The Independent for political news, thinking that it will give you a fair, balanced viewpoint. The name is merely designed to fool you into thinking that way.

The tagline for The Independent used to be:

It is, are you?

…suggesting that The Independent was actually independent and additionally offering that up as some sort of virtue, like there was some problem with holding an opinion on any given matter of the day.

Get over yourselves.

Anyway, it turns out that The Independent really isn’t very independent at all.

But this isn’t post about The Independent. I just thought I’d add a bit of unnecessary context because I’m looking at a story from that outlet in this post.

It’s this story (and it’s not very political, so I think we’re ok to run with it):

This is very much in the same vein as the post I wrote a couple of days ago detailing a similar issue in the USA.

The thing is, the USA post I did compared the numbers of deaths from Covid-19 this year (because it’s new) and those from influenza over the last five flu seasons over there. Covid-19 was much, much worse than flu, despite comparing the figures from when flu was at its height over there.

But yes, flu is very seasonal, and so there’s no real surprise that if you look at the figures between January and August (which they have done here) then the numbers for Covid are so much higher: most of that time wasn’t flu season in the UK.

Deaths linked to Covid-19 were higher than deaths due to influenza and pneumonia between March and June.

And yes, they’ve added in “pneumonia” as well, but again, that isn’t as prevalent during the summer months.

It’s not a fair or meaningful comparison.

Still, it still doesn’t make for pleasant reading because the real story is probably yet to come.

As winter – and flu season – approaches, if we see what we have seen in the Southern hemisphere, then influenza will be less of an issue this year (because more people will choose to get vaccinated this time around and because of measures in place to try to combat coronavirus will limit influenza transmission as well) and that’s a good thing, but coronavirus will almost certainly continue to knock people off.

And so, with coronavirus cases already increasing again, it seems likely that Covid-19 will likely still be far more deadly than flu in the UK, even when the playing field is levelled.


Flu. Not “flu”. Not “manflu”. Actual flu. Influenza A virus H1N1.

The next time someone tells me that they were off work yesterday because they had “flu”, I’m going to punch them in the face. That is, assuming that I don’t have flu, because if I do, I won’t even be able to lift my arm up. If you’ve ever had flu, you’ll know what I mean.

For the first two days you think you’re going to die. For the next five, you wish you had.

For minute after minute, the King Kong that is my immune system fended off the pesky virus biplanes. But then, eventually overwhelmed by their sheer numbers and tenacity, it chivalrously placed the beautiful lady carefully atop the skyscraper roof before dropping, Rand-like, into the street below. Across the family 6000 city, similar dead primates were being dumped on low loaders and heading off for the Vissershoek landfill site.
What ensued was a catalogue of vomiting, sweating, aches, pains, rigors, fevers, coughing and general high fever malaise which I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. We lost days. The drugs were of little assistance, offering scant protection against the onslaught – like holding up a pillow to protect you from a freight train.

This all began (for me) on Saturday. Today is the first day I’ve started to feel even vaguely human. And in that time, REM split up, the Rand… just… died (what happened there?!?), I missed out on a birthday and my dad’s knee exploded.

I think – I hope – that we’re through it now. But if you have a little sniffle, then don’t call it “flu” unless you’re going to do that hard yards like wringing the sweat out of your t-shirt, losing 3 kilos in as many days and wondering who stamped on your head.

Notably (and unsurprisingly), the only people in and around our family who didn’t get sick were those who had the flu jab earlier this year – on my recommendation. Next time around, I’m going to take my own advice.