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The Cody Blog: The Bird Flu is a Joke

Monday, November 07, 2005

The Bird Flu is a Joke

Man, the ridiculous overhype around this Avian Flu "scare" is out of control. Get a grip, already, media.

From Google News:
News Results 1 - 10 of about 22,000 for avian flu.

22,000 news hits for a disease that's killed less than 200 people in the last 3 years.

WHO: Human flu pandemic inevitable
CNN International - 2 hours ago
GENEVA, Switzerland (AP) -- A deadly new global pandemic of human influenza is inevitable and suffering will be "incalculable" unless the world is ready, the ...

"Inevitable"??? That's the headline? Talk about misleading. It's not even close to inevitable. It will take all kinds of things going completely and utterly wrong for this stupid bird flu to actually become a pandemic. Cases thus far have been traced to repeated human contact with fowl or ingesting insufficiently cooked chicken products, and human-to-human communicability has not been confirmed in a single case, as Stratfor has accrurately reported.

Prensa Latina
World Bank warns of $950B cost of flu pandemic
CTV.ca, Canada - 5 hours ago
... billion in a single year, a World Bank economist cautioned ... and world officials from around the world that if ... Canada, the costs of an avian flu pandemic could ...

"$950 billion"? That's the headline? Read on, of course, and that number gets a big "if" qualifier. As in," if bird flu takes hold across the planet".

Look, the politicians need to give us a McGuffin to worry about and to make sure that we know that they're doing "the right thing" especially after the way they handled something that really did matter -- Hurricane Katrina.

The whole of the mainstream media's stupid focus on this disease that is worthy of concern, but certainly not something that the average American should even have on their radar is exactly why the movement of democratizing media is so important.

Here's to keeping sensationalism to a minimum and reality to a maximum. Here's to blogging.


Blogger BelowTheCrowd said...

That there will, someday, be another pandemic of some sort is a virtual certainty. Just as it is virtually certain that someday the sun will go dark.

Most likely it will hit us when we are least prepared, and where we are least likely to be looking for it.

As you note, lots of things need to go wrong in perfect sequence for it to happen. Freaking out every time one of the pieces exists is stupid.

Stratfor had a very good report on this one, in which they pointed out a few things, including the fact that the last major pandemic was able to become as bad as it was in large part because of the unique situation in the world at the end of WWI. Also worth noting that more than half of those who died in that pandemic did not die of the flu, but rather of infections that came about as a result -- infections that were untreatable in 1918, but are routinely treated with antibiotics today, often not even requiring a hospital stay.


11/08/2005 02:27:00 AM  
Blogger jplaqueur said...

I dunno guys...I think the series of events that need to happen to make the jump from bird-human transmission to human-human transmission is a lot less than you think. For more detailed research check out Http://www.recombinomics.com - from a senior infections disease researcher who specifically tracks viral mutations for a living - "elegant evolution" he calls it.

Another comment. I think you have it worng on the mainstream media hype. I think the mainstream media is - as usual - pathetically late to the real story and that our beloved bloggers deserve credit for finally bringing attention to this.

I have been following literally dozens of concerned bloggers about this issue for over 18 months now. And as late as March of this year they were all wondering where the hell was the mainstream coverage of something that has, can, and will again decimate a large portion of humanity.

Oh, and the infections spawned by bird flu (1918 version of H5N1) are antibiotic resistent. That's what makes them leathal.

As I see it. You can blow it off. Or you can go ask your doctor for a $40 Tamiflu prescription - just in case. I got mine last week...

11/09/2005 10:22:00 PM  
Blogger ko said...

The bird flu news has really been on my nerves too! It worries me when the government, via the media, works so hard to scare people, to obcession, about something that is not nearly as likely to happen in the next week as say, a suicide bomber.

When the hype was at its thickest I wanted to know how the election in Iraq turned out, I still haven't heard about it on my TV.

Someone famous said fear is what drives our consumption; the more I think about it the more I believe it is true. Consumption by the masses of Tamiflu every time someone gets a cold; thinking they have the flu, is the last thing we need in the event of a pending flu pandemic. The virus will quickly; and maybe elegantly, mutate into the flu virus that "eats Tamiflu for lunch".

-Now, that would be news, I bet we would probably never hear about!

11/11/2005 07:05:00 PM  

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