Bird Flu: Why We Need a Functional Government
by Matt Stoller, Sun Jan 08, 2006 at 04:11:38 PM EST
Senator Barack Obama was the first politician to recognize the threat (Gary Boatwright, chill), and he was followed by Harry Reid and Ted Kennedy. We're not going to have enough anti-viral medication, and we're not going to have enough vaccines on hand, and even if we did we don't have the public health infrastructure to deliver the medicine should there be a pandemic.
Of course, the Republicans are using this episode to dole out pork to their corporate backers and to attack trial lawyers. The real problem here is that preparations for keeping the US infrastructure running in case of a flu pandemic just aren't happening. Even if you think that it's worthwhile to divert public health resources to the war on terror, part of that war is addressing the threat of bioterrorism, which looks remarkably similar to addressing the threat of avian flu.
Regardless of what you think of the Republican Party's philosophy, it's clear we need people who can prepare for disasters and manage our government when those disasters hit, not just yell through bullhorns. As with Katrina and New Orleans, you can't blame the terrorists for avian flu. I hope the adults get put in charge soon. It's too scary to contemplate what happens otherwise.