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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 5/31/09

Another Pandemic of Fear

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     Do you remember the Great Bird Flu scare of 2005-2006?

 ·        “A leading scientist warned yesterday that the avian flu virus is on the point of mutating into a pandemic disease and says that current estimates that such a pandemic could cause 7.5m deaths may understate the threat. According to the WHO, within a few months of the pandemic 30 million people would need to be hospitalised, and a quarter could be expected to die.”-- The Guardian, 5/26/05

      There was no need to worry, though; because (then) President Bush read a 546 page book (or so the legend goes) about the 1918 “Spanish flu” outbreak during one of his extended vacations, and he returned to Washington with a plan to make a preemptive strike on the Bird flu before it could attack the Homeland (USA TODAY, 10/10/05) ...and if all the talk about Bird Flu happened to divert the media’s attention from his incompetent response to the Hurricane Katrina disaster--so much the better.

      Now, all the Bush Administration needed to do was make Americans afraid of a disease that had killed only 65 people on the other side of the world (from direct contact with diseased birds) and had shown no indication of person-to-person transmission.

      No problem. If they could spin a case for war out of non-existent WMDs and threats of mushroom clouds, it should be easy to scare Americans with a disease that threatens to kill anyone and everyone--besides; they had the full support of the pharmaceutical industry.

      So they rolled out their new product: a deadly Bird Flu Pandemic:

 ·        The likelihood of a human flu pandemic is very high, U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Michael Leavitt warned Monday as he sought Southeast Asian cooperation to combat the spread of bird flu.”--AP, 11/11/05

 ·        “...If such an outbreak occurred, hospitals would become overwhelmed, riots would engulf vaccination clinics, and even power and food would be in short supply...”--The New York Times, 10/7/05

 ·        “...David Nabarro, the recently-appointed senior United Nations system coordinator for avian and human influenza, told the media Thursday that deaths from bird flu could reach into the hundreds of millions.”--ABC News, 9/5/05

 ·        “Short of thermonuclear war, I have a hard time imagining anything in my lifetime that would be as horrible,”--Laurie Garrett, senior fellow for Global Health at the Council on Foreign Relations, ABC News, 11/1/05


      Those were scary times. Do you remember how Bush’s Great Bird Flu Pandemic turned out?

      According to the WHO (4/23/09), there have been a total of 257 confirmed deaths resulting from Avian (Bird) Flu since 2003. To put that figure into perspective: More than 1,170 people died from lighting strikes in 2003; more than 750,000 children died of malaria in 2006; and the ordinary seasonal flu kills about 36,000 Americans each year.


      Now we find ourselves in the midst of another deadly pandemic--the Swine Flu; ...and we are hearing the same kind of dire predictions:

 ·        “The question now is not whether people will die [of the Swine Flu], but whether it will be thousands, tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands.”--Robert Madelin, the European commission’s most senior health official, The Sunday Times, 5/3/09

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Michael Youther Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Mick Youther is an American citizen, an independent voter, a veteran, a parent, a scientist, a writer, and all-around nice guy who has been roused from a comfortable apathy by the high crimes and misdemeanors of the Bush Administration.

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