- Parent Category: Upper-Intermediate News Lessons
- Category: Health Lessons
- Written by Chris Cotter
Take heed because the swine flu will kill millions of people, paralyze economies, and create chaos around the world! During the initial outbreak, schools closed and universities canceled graduation ceremonies. In Egypt, the health minister ordered the slaughter of all pigs in the country. Face masks did a booming business everywhere too.
World health experts had taken prompt steps at the start, offering dark warnings that it could become the next pandemic. They declared that almost two billion people could be sickened by the virus. Yet nothing happened. There have been less than one hundred deaths worldwide in total. This figure is significantly fewer than the millions expected in a possible worst-case scenario. In fact, there have been fewer deaths than in an annual flu season. Few people are now listening to health experts, who continue to state that the threat is very real.
As newspaper editorials and comments on the Internet demonstrate, people have become sick and tired of the reports. "Crying wolf" and "hoax" are some of the milder terms, as everyone everywhere takes an unconcerned viewpoint. Many people are also critical of how the media focused on the doom-and-gloom scenarios in a slow news cycle. In other words, because there wasn't anything major to report, the media focused on the swine flu to sell newspapers, magazines, and air time.
Of course, the media and health experts disagree. Both say that they have acted quickly and properly at the discovery of the swine flu in the past. They took the right steps to spread the message. It just so happens that the flu didn't become the pandemic predicted. Perhaps, however, it all just amounts to fear-mongering hype.
Preview some of the lesson material:
Warm Up: Do you agree or disagree? Why?
- The swine flu is a serious and dangerous disease.
- The swine flu will soon spread around the world.
- I'm very concerned about the swine flu.
- The news cannot be trusted.
- The end of the world will soon arrive!
True or False?: Guess (before the article) or answer (after the article) whether the sentence is true or false. If false, correct the sentence.
- Schools closed and university ceremonies were canceled because of the swine flu.
- Up to two million people could be sickened by the virus.
- There have been more deaths from swine flu than the regular flu.
- Health experts think the media reported the swine flu because there wasn't any other big news.
- The health experts reacted quickly and correctly to the problem.
post-Comprehension: Talk about the following questions in pairs/groups. Remember to support your answers!
- What do you think about the swine flu? Please explain.
- Is there any real possibility that millions of people could die from the swine flu? Why/not?
- What do you think about the media and their reporting of the swine flu? Please explain.
- If the swine flu spread around the world in a worst-case scenario, how would your life change?
- What can be done to prevent this virus and others from annihilating the modern world?
Google Search: Type "swine flu" into Google. Look at the websites, and/or read additional articles on this topic. Discuss or write an essay about your findings.