Doing some research on public opinion and swine flu, I spotted this column by Anne Applebaum in Slate. Our first hour today dealt with how the outbreak was handled. Many complain that the threat was overblown. To which Anne Applebaum replied:
So what? Before "that panic was ridiculous" becomes the conventional wisdom, let's be frank about it: Where infectious diseases are concerned, panic is good. Panic is what we want. Without panic, nothing happens. Up to 500 million people will get malaria this year, and more than 1 million of them will die, mostly in very poor countries. Yet there is no fear of malaria in the rich world; there is no hysterical media coverage, and thus there is still no satisfactory prevention or cure.
Thoughts? Was this overblown, or appropriately cautious?