In Germany is currently being reported a lot about the EHEC virus. Normally, only a few percent (per year) die from the intestinal bacterium, but this year the disease occurs in a higher frequent and there were already 11 deaths that were brought in connection with the bacterium. The bacterium is probably spread over salad, especially cuc**bers, or vegetables.
Amazingly I think of the reactions in my circle of friends. Everyone reads day by day in the newspapers or online about the disease, new victims and more ...But no one expires in a panic. Okay, maybe no one in my circle is eating cuc**bers anymore and very much people are talking about the bacterium, but that is not a panic. It may be the tactic of repression, however, fact is that every year in the summer time their are news to pandemics, new diseases, killer flus or sth. like that. In germany we say, if the newspapers dont have interessting storys that they have to fill the "Sommerloch" (silly season) with storys like the Epec virus.
I think the problem is that a real pandemic can be underestimated by the type of coverage in Germany. People just do not know whether the disease is now really as bad as it is reported in the newspapers , or whether in fact only the silly season again must be filled.
So you do not know anymore if you should really be afraid or should panic.
I think in Germany you often can not feel of what the reporting of the newspapers is aiming at: Is the newspaper telling the people the truth, does the newspaper take you to fear, or does it take your fear?
Often it seems that the publishers only want to sell a lot of newspapers.
Thats one little story why i think "How do people react in a pandemic?" is the morst interessting point.