We are an uncomfortable pause between assaults by both MERS and H7N9. The Arab media have nothing but feel-good Hajj stories, while the KSA MOH remains quiet. The Chinese media, meanwhile, have nothing new about the Zhejiang H7N9 case announced on October 15.
The effect is like the old-fashioned advice to chew each mouthful 100 times, or however long it takes to liquefy. Apart from the sheer boredom of the process, this also ensures a minimum of conversation; we can't even ask for seconds while we deal with what little we got on our plate to begin with.
Neither the Saudi nor the Chinese media are doing any legwork on these stories. Apart from the occasional detail in some local paper, those media give us what their health ministries give them. WHO, in turn, may know more but isn't talking.
Granted, more people die of malaria or diarrhea in any given half-hour than have died of both these diseases combined since they were identified. But when their potential threat is so serious, and we get no news about them, it's very frustrating.
Stendhal once observed that politics in a novel is like a gunshot in a concert: It doesn't belong, but it demands our attention. The current practice of a case announcement, followed by dead silence until the next case announcement, makes us impatient: Who fired the damn gun? Why? Was anyone hit? How badly? And would the conductor please put down his baton until we sort this out? This is no time for background music.