Skip to main content

High Summer, High Anxiety, High Fever?

July 15th has the right to consider itself smack dab in the middle of summer. High summer should be a time to relax - the fish are jumping. Instead, today's news is grimmer than day-old Eyewear. Depending on who you listen to, as reported by the BBC or The Guardian, death rates for previously healthy people are expected to amount to a) 25% of all cases or b) 20% of all cases. Worse, death rates are expected to be up to "1 in 200" of all who "seek medical advice from their doctor".

That rate seems higher than the current death rate of 0.28 per million the UK is experiencing at the moment, until one considers that most people don't have swine flu (yet). This 1:200 death rate means 5,000 for every million cases. Given that the government is predicting that 20% of the UK will (at a minimum) contract the H1N1 virus, and even before assuming the virus may mutate, that means, at a conservative estimate, 10 million Britons will get the flu. That's 50,000 deaths. Put another way, that's 10,000 deaths of otherwise young, healthy people, between the ages of 5 and 65, who, had this pandemic not happened, would've stayed alive, all things being equal. Since a predominant number of these are likely to be teenagers and twentysomethings, we're looking at maybe 6,000 young British people dying in the next 6 months.

The government clearly anticipates this - it is planning to cancel elective surgery this autumn, and to fast-track autopsies. Given that seasonal flu normally kills, in the UK, 5-7,000 people annually, this is, despite what some say, an alarming scenario.

Hopefully, the vaccinations can begin in October or November, which might manage (since there will only be enough for 50% of the population in 2009) to cut the death rate to 25,000 by Christmas. Unions are beginning to debate access to the vaccine - clearly, health care workers need it asap; but then, so do the police, and the army; and, I would argue, those also on the frontline - emergency workers. Lastly, teachers, who meet more viruses than anyone else but doctors, publicans, priests and news vendors, should be given access. Also, of course, children, the aged, diabetics, asthmatics, and those with other immune-system problems. In short - almost everyone but BBC executives, rock stars and real estate agents, will be legitimately vying for the first jab. Tough decisions ahead, and it may be something of a "post code lottery". Priests are suggesting we avoid Holy Water, so we know it is serious. I continue to be cautiously concerned.

Popular posts from this blog


Like a crazed killer clown, whether we are thrilled, horrified, shocked, or angered (or all of these) by Donald Trump, we cannot claim to be rid of him just yet. He bestrides the world stage like a silverback gorilla (according to one British thug), or a bad analogy, but he is there, a figure, no longer of fun, but grave concern.

There has long been a history of misogynistic behaviour in American gangster culture - one thinks of the grapefruit in the face in The Public Enemy, or Sinatra throwing a woman out of his hotel room and later commenting he didn't realise there was a pool below to break her fall, or the polluted womb in Pacino'sScarface... and of course, some gangsta rap is also sexist.  American culture has a difficult way with handling the combined aspects of male power, and male privilege, that, especially in heteronormative capitalist enclaves, where money/pussy both become grabbable, reified objects and objectives (The Wolf of Wall Street for instance), an ugly fus…


According to the latest CBS, ABC, etc, polls, Clinton is still likely to beat Trump - by percentile odds of 66% to 33% and change. But the current popular vote is much closer, probably tied with the error of margin, around 44% each. Trump has to win more key battleground states to win, and may not - but he is ahead in Florida...

We will all know, in a week, whether we live in a world gone madder, or just relatively mad.

While it seems likely calmer heads will prevail, the recent Brexit win shows that polls can mislead, especially when one of the options is considered a bit embarrassing, rude or even racist - and Trump qualifies for these, at least.

If 42-45% of Americans admit they would vote for Trump, what does that say about the ones not so vocal? For surely, they must be there, as well. Some of the undecided will slide, and more likely they will slide to the wilder and more exciting fringe candidate. As may the libertarians.

Eyewear predicts that Trump will just about manage to win th…


Announcing the Shortlist for the 2016 Sexton PrizeSeptember 13, 2016 / By Kelly Davio
Eyewear Publishing is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2016 Sexton Prize. The finalists are, in no particular order, as follows:

HISTORY OF GONE, Lynn Schmeidler
SEVERE CLEAR, Maya Catherine Popa
SIT IN THE DARK WITH ME, Jesse Lee Kercheval

The shortlist was selected by Eyewear’s Director Todd Swift with Senior Editor Kelly Davio. Don Share of Poetry Magazine will select the winning manuscript, which will be released at the 2017 AWP conference in Washington, D.C. The winner will be announced in October. 
Congratulations to our finalists!