The Tao of Politics

One of my main concerns is: how can I make a difference? There are thousands of political blogs out there. It’s easy to get lost in that ocean. So I may blog about politics on occasion, or I may blog about health issues, depending on where my interests lead me, and where I feel I can contribute something of significance.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Bird Flu Mortality
I wrote yesterday about the mortality rate of H5N1, bird flu. It had been widely reported in the media that about 50% of the people who caught the disease died. It turns out that this figure may not be totally accurate. Here are two stories, one from NPR, and one from ABC News, which discuss this question. Fifty percent is probably way too high. Bird flu could still be a serious disease, and result in a pandemic, just not one of Biblical proportions.

Repeating Gossip
Often the news media report that someone has died of suspected bird flu. Of course, the story makes headlines, and adds to the hype over this dreaded disease. Here’s one about an Indonesian man, and we all remember the Turkish boy who died. But often, as in these two cases, the person is found to have not died from bird flu, which generates another story to counter the previous story.

If a person dies from bird flu, that is news. If a person dies from suspected bird flu, that news may be important locally, so that the health care system can deal with it, but it is not important internationally, and I wish the media would stop reporting it as if it were. This goes for the blogosphere as well: too many blogs pick up a rumor like this and just report it as if it was big news. That’s like repeating gossip. I think we can do better than that.

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  • At 4:04 PM, Anonymous stranger said…

    bird flu again, eh? i detect a trend.... hehehe

    anyway, just stopped by to say happy new year! trying to catch up on all i missed during my trip over the weekend.


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