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2001-08-16 20:57:31+00 by Dan Lyke 3 comments

View From The Heart has some conjecture on what a major epidemic in the US might look like (scroll down to "Epidemic Worries"). I've said a couple of times that we're kind-of overdue for a replay of the flu epidemic of the early part of last century, it looks like that idea's becoming part of the greater consciousness...

[ related topics: Health ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:30+00 by: alwin

It's something that is on the mind of almost every ICU doc/nurse once ''flu season'' starts. Every year we get close to being snowed under as the nursing home patients and the debilitated elderly start getting infected and falling prey not just to the virus, but to their other chronic health conditions that are made worse by the viral attack.

For the past couple of years we've had slow run-ups of vaccine supplies as the season gets started. Pharm companies seem to hate the liability issues in making the stuff, and frankly there is a better profit profile making Viagra or Celebrex or some other patented medication they can charge high prices for.

All it's going to take is one factory fire or other disaster and we could have a real public health crisis the likes of which we haven't seen for a couple of generations. It's a public policy issue that, unfortunately, isn't on the radar of politicians more interested in lobbyist money from the Hospital/Pharm Corps than in the public interest and well-being.

#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:31+00 by: dexev

Not to sound unfeeling, but would this necessarily be a bad thing? Thirty years ago (or less) any and all forest fires were considered undesirable. Now we know that fires are an integral part of the forest life cycle. Just, I would argue, as influenza is part of ours.

And continuing the parallel, when we do see a flu epidemic, it's likely to be *really* nasty -- not just the old and the weak dying. The size and virulence of the infection will mean that otherwise healthy people will die. Just like years and years of deadwood and brush can take old growth with it when it finally goes up.

I don't beleive this is a battle we can "win". We can put off an epidemic for another year or ten, but it'll just be that much worse when it gets here.


#Comment made: 2002-02-21 05:32:32+00 by: Dan Lyke

It has become a part of my consciousness recently that human life has value in its proximity to our own. Back of the envelope says that one hundred million folks die every year, circa three hundred thousand every day. And it's not like we save lives, we prolong them; so far as I can tell the death rate is 100%.

A plague would suck if it impacted my community, but in a grander scale yes, it's a part of the processes of life. And I'm interested in ways that humans find the power to pursue their own happiness and freedoms, but I've no illusion that that means postponing death, sometimes the awareness of death is the kick we need to start finding that joy.