Monday, August 11, 2008

Flu pandemic

I am totally freaked out about a flu pandemic. Always have been, and now this book I'm reading, The Great Influenza by John Barry, has intensified that fear. I know you're thinking "What the heck does the flu have to do with being a lazy liberal?" Well, the Republicans have been funneling funds into "Homeland Security" and a ridiculous war in Iraq and have no interest or desire to fix our broken health care system. Bush Co. has been busy trampling our civil rights (Wilson also did so dramatically during WWI, which fueled the spread of the 1918 influenza) and, while Bush did propose a $7.1 billion plan for a flu outbreak, Democrats don't think it goes far enough (of course). Indeed, we spend nearly $720 million a month for the war in Iraq. Let's see, death toll estimates for a modern day flu pandemic: 62 million world wide. An influenza pandemic is a bigger terrorist threat than any group, country, or ideology. No question.

The main problem, as I see it, is the cooperation of the international community. Since Bush Co. squandered any and all goodwill the U.S. has enjoyed in previous administrations, we are in deep trouble. Indeed, Julie Gerberding, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says, "Our preparedness is only as strong as its weakest link." There are two weak links: no political will to really confront and pay for preparedness, and, at this moment, Indonesia. From DemfromCT on Daily Kos:
Indonesia, the world's most populous Moslem country, and the epicenter of H5N1 infections in humans...has decided that the H5N1 virus should be owned by Indonesia, and sold to whomever they deem worthy. In the meantime, Indonesia has stopped reporting human cases in a day-to-day basis, rebuffed WHO requests for a shared approach, and condemned humanitarian assistance fro the US by demanding NAMRU-2 (a Navy health lab stationed in Jakarta for many years) leave the country and let Indonesia manage its own internal problems.
There are two smaller threats as I see them: the naysayers (the same folks who think global warming is a myth, abstinence only education works, and birth control = abortion) and complacency. Again, DemfromCT,
The pandemic threat has not gone away just because other stories supercede it in the media. Alas, it sees that it will take a crisis to break through the indifference, and in that, we are no different than we ever were. And that is a public health problem and an international shame.
Goddess help us all.

What can you do? Track the flu, find out how prepared your city and state governments are, and find out ways to protect yourself and your family. And, always get a flu shot and practice diligent hand hygiene. In 1918, pregnant women and infants were hit hardest. Next, the most healthy and robust of the population: 20-40 year olds. One flu researcher at the time called the victims "doubly dead because they died so young."

Oh yes, and do all you can do to elect Barack Obama in November. Only 84 days until the election.

3 comments:

birdfluman said...

Good article. We need to keep Bird Flu at the forefront of every business manager's mind. It won't go away so better start preparing.

Nigel Thomas
For free references and tools go to Bird Flu Manual Online or, if you need more comprehensive tutorials and templates, consider Bird Flu D-I-Y eManual for business preparedness and survival.

GiGi said...

I agree. It is a serious threat and people are fools if they think history does not repeat itself! Thanks for commenting.

Joseph Pulikotil said...

Hello!

Excellent post and very thought provoking!

Thousands of birds were culled in India and many small poultry farmers lost their livelyhood. Yet chicken prices are soaring because people cannot live without it.

It is always good to be prepared for a calamity and if possible take steps to prevent it.

After all that is written, Bush is a great man because he is the only one who had the courage and guts to go after the terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq and put the fear of God in them. Without him the whole world would have been at the mercy of these dastardly thugs.
Bush stood firmly against them inspite of severe oppostion from many people and countries. He is to be admired and given a standing ovation where ever he goes.

Have a good day!