When selecting what to say to the world so as to inform but stop global panic, it comes down to how much truth is told, and how much is held back. With the threat of a global pandemic with the H1N1 swine flu, selection of words is tricky at best.
Connecting the Dots has talked about sheep mentality, and other things that cause people to act without using their brain. So when the word hit that there was a virus that humans had no immunity for and people were dying from it, the potential for global panic triggered by the survival instinct most certainly existed and still does.
So knowing full well what information is being given to the public must match the action of the government, nearly everyone is watching for the pilot to jump out of the aircraft with a parachute while saying ‘everything is fine, don’t worry‘. There are enough movies and even some weekly tv programs that depict this. There are plenty of breakaway survival groups that are totally convinced the government can not be trusted. So sifting out what are deliberate deceptions, and plugging in the likely real scenario to figure out what is going on is the name of the game.
So in this case only enough truth must be given to get people to do the right thing, but not so much as to cause a panic. If there was a panic the consequences would be hoarding and misuse of anti viral vaccines just for starters. Opportunistic pricing would be the name of the game where prices can be several multiples of normal price. And that is just in the first few days. After that it gets totally out of control.
There is no good scenario to a pandemic scare reality or perceived. The fortunate reality is while governments have been getting ready for the H5N1 bird flu virus, much of what is being implemented for the H1N1 swine flu comes from that. Procedures are in place and are being used. The only difference is what will the vaccine be. The standards seem to work for the H1N1 swine flu, but there is nothing for the H5N1 bird flu as it is still evolving.
The safest thing to do is do as we do and connect the dots to decide what to do for yourself. If you decide you want to become a sheep and follow a panic driven heard of people, you are likely to discover you are in the wrong line. Very simply nobody thinks when they are sheep, even the leader of the sheep does not think. In this case being informed with credible information you have verified yourself is your best chance. Do not trust someone to say it is verified, you need to run the numbers yourself to be sure. Look at the actions of the people running the show, if it looks like it is out of control then you need to head to where the population density is very low to offer the best protection from human to human transmission.