Thursday, June 11, 2009

Swine Flu Scare Creates Resentment

As if the meetings industry doesn't have enough to worry about.

First it was the economy. Then it was the congressional outcry against incentives meeting brought on by the AIG controversy. The latest crucible facing convention planners is the swine flu outbreak. The World Health Organization declared an H1N1 flu pandemic today-- the first global flu epidemic in 41 years. Nearly 30,000 cases have been reported in the US, Europe, Australia, South American and elsewhere. This will speed up the funding of research into and hopefully production of a vaccine as well as money for containment.

Proper perspective and restraint is required here. The WHO reports 141 people have died from the flu with only 27 perishing domestically (the other 117 were from Mexico). Seasonal flu kills half a million people annually. When is the last time the press reported this disparity. Certainly, precautions should be made to enhance the risk of spreading the deadly virus. Wall Street Journal editorial writer Daniel Henninger says there is great concern in the use of pandemic, particularly as the media uses the term in future reporting (

I attended a convention of convention publicists last month in Kansas City. There was no shortage of hand-wringing over the media glare over this issue. Today's news will not help the situation.

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