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.

Monday, February 27, 2006

The Tao of Bird Flu
26. In battling bird flu, the world must strike a decisive blow, with overwhelming force. Anything less, and bird flu might win.

Bird Flu Notes
Coincidentally, Laurie Garrett says in International Herald Tribune that unless we act now, bird flu might win. She has some good suggestions, but she’s talking about dealing with the whole world, with all the differing attitudes that exist toward bird flu, and all the political dynamics involved. We can put a lot of money and energy into the effort to combat bird flu, but I’m afraid in the end it will be like most things: we will have to depend a great deal on luck to enable ourselves to dodge the catastrophic effects of a pandemic.

China is warning that we may see a massive outbreak of bird flu in that country. That is interesting. I hate to be cynical, but it almost seems like China is trying to prepare the world for something that it already knows is coming. I get the impression that China has not been extremely open in its reporting about bird flu. For example there have been rumors of hundreds of deaths, instead of the relatively few that have actually been reported. These new warnings may signal a change in their policy, and also may be an attempt to save face in light of revelations to come. I hope I am wrong about this. We shall see.

And now Russia is warning that a major outbreak of bird flu may be on its way. Interesting that these warnings are coming now. Do they know something that we don't know?

Can you imagine testing 90,000 people for bird flu? Either there are a lot of sick people in India or there are a lot of frightened people.

If bird flu strikes North America, will it come through Alaska? It's possible. This article has a good discussion of all that.

Other Notes
The H5N1 virus may be killed by cooking, but if you’re going to eat a bird, someone has to prepare it, and preparing a bird to be eaten is one way that the virus can be transmitted to a human being.

What I can’t understand is why the birds eat bird shit. That is one way the H5N1 virus is transmitted. If they just wouldn’t eat the shit, then we wouldn’t have as much of a problem. Of course you can’t keep them from eating it, but I’m just saying . . . .

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