The current swine-flu situation provides an opportunity of experiencing the kind of anguish that must have pervaded societies in the olden days, before the advent of modern medicine. Here in France, though, things appear to be under control, and there are no advance signs of panic. Normally, the health authorities have ordered more than enough shots of vaccine for everybody, and the forces of the nation are getting ready to act.
If the worst comes to the worst, and there are doubts about whether the vaccine is capable of saving us from death, then our spiritual leaders will surely guide us in prayer... which is not a bad tool in times of calamity. Personally, though, ever since Louis Pasteur, I have had more faith in vaccines than in divinities. Logically, since God acts in mysterious ways, the best all-round approach would consist of beseeching Him in our prayers to bring about the creation of an efficient vaccine. In that way, if all goes well, not only will we all be saved, but people of all outlooks will be reassured concerning the essential forces that gave rise to this successful outcome.
BREAKING NEWS: Click the BBC NEWS banner to access a comprehensive article, dated 21 July 2009, entitled World response to swine flu crisis, which indicates what is happening in each corner of the planet.