Bird Flu: Why We Need a Functional Government

The 1918 influenza epidemic killed approximately 2-5% of the world's population.  There's a strain of flu going around Asian and Turkey (dangerously close to the US troops that ferry back and forth stateside) that is similar in its potential for damage.  Read Effect Measure or the FluWiki if you're really interested in the details.

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.

Tags: World (all tags)



They call me Mellow Yellow
(Gary Boatwright, chill)

Here I am being all chilled out all afternoon while jiacinto and labanman go Karl Rove all over my very sensible diary and this is the thanks I get. What is the world coming to?

I have no problem with Barack Obama or any other Democrat, as long as they are not attacking progressive Dems or feeding into the frenzy of the RWNM.

Of course, at the risk of being boldly shrill, it would be nice if Barack himself was pointing out the exact same point you have raised in your diary Matt.

by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-08 04:40PM | 0 recs
It no longer matters what we do
about this possible pandemic. If the Avian flu mutates to allow human to human transmission no vaccine will be available in time due to outmoded technology.

The government will be unable to do anything. The only thing that might work is to each citizen to stockpile enough supplies to isolate him/herself for long enough for the flu to pass by.

Go to FluWiki to find out how to get ready.

by Pericles 2006-01-08 05:02PM | 0 recs
Re: It no longer matters what we do
It matters enormously.  Quarantines, effective supply management, etc.
by Matt Stoller 2006-01-08 08:09PM | 0 recs
Tamiflu is the new messiah
One thing for sure is that the federal government will pour billions of dollars into Tamiflu, whatever happens.  After all, someone has to earn some dough out of the impending calamity.  
by Winston Smith 2006-01-08 05:05PM | 0 recs
Thats because Tamiflu works on HN51
The mutation that is currently around, HN51, has been shown to be killed off by Tamiflu.

What you need to be aware of here, is that the DHHS head appointed a major crony to oversee the whole thing, the cronie's name is Simonsen. This is a true story.

  1. First time he came to Congress, he said we had enough vaccine, everything was ok. (this was in committee record)
  2.  The next day he put in a request for 20 Million more. He apologized for the error.
  3. One month later, he put his ask into multiple billions. And got it!

In business we refer to these gentlemen by the catch all phrase "incompetent". The Katrina tragedy unfolded due in large part to Michael Brown's inability to understand the scope of damage - in fact, the news channels were sending out updates before FEMA.

In the case of Simonsen, his background is this: He is a lawyer. Thats it. Thats all the medical and flu response expertise he has. Oh yeah, that, and he was a personal lawyer for Amtrak.

Lawyers, get drunk when they're in grad school and they walk around with stuff drooling out of their mouth, with these girls in their arm - looking down at sober science grads. They attack the world like its their oyster, they are professional liars.

And now, one of them heads up the National Flu Response. Sort of reminds you of someone, doesn't it..

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-01-08 05:22PM | 0 recs
Re: Thats because Tamiflu works on HN51
Good point about Simonsen.  His appointment is an unexposed scandal.  

Dont put too much faith in Tamiflu.  If avian flu mutates to be easily transmissible from person to person, there is no assurance that Tamiflu would be effective.  Good evidence indicates that it may be completely worthless.

I was in medical school when we were under anthrax attack.  First line therapy for athrax exposure was a cheap generic penicillin.  For reasons I dont understand, Cipro, a much more expensive antibiotic, under patent, was marketed as the only effective antibiotic.  Drug rep's made the rounds selling Cipro for this indication only.  I just dont trust the administration to make policy based on public good when they stand to make a huge profit from bad policy.  

by Winston Smith 2006-01-08 05:54PM | 0 recs
The New England Journal of Medicine link
Here.  The point is that if avian flu starts spreading as a pandemic, the transmissible strain will likely be resistant to Tamiflu, or have inducible resistance.  
by Winston Smith 2006-01-08 07:53PM | 0 recs
For Matt Stoller, From TurnerBroadcasting

Its a dirty story about Dick and Jane
and the Jersey Girl wouldn't understand
based on her movie in the funniest scene
Stoller needs a job , he wants to be a my-d Blogger

Bloggin My DD

Hey myDD'ers would you take a look
it took me a year to write give or take a few
Its based on a movie about the Jersey Girl
He needs a job, so he's bloggin at MyDD

Mightee - Blogg - er

by turnerbroadcasting 2006-01-08 05:28PM | 0 recs
Re: For Matt Stoller, From TurnerBroadcasting
I dont get it.  Is this a secret personal message?
by Winston Smith 2006-01-08 08:08PM | 0 recs
Re: For Matt Stoller, From TurnerBroadcasting
Probably it says that if your business gets real slow, you can always shoot for lead blogger at MyDD. I guess it beats being one of those 500,000 U.S. computer programmers who are out of work, rather angry, and thinking about maybe downloading Nmap from

By the way, an awful lot of real experts think this bird flu might well go the way of the old swine flu.

But if it doesn't --


Prince: We must go away from this city! We are going to my castle, in the middle of the forest! We'll be safe there! And when the Red Death ends we'll be able to come back to my palace. Be ready to go in an hour!

Storyteller: And Prince Prospero chose a thousand healthy and happy friends and took them away from the city. Over the hills they went, far away to the Prince's favourite house. It was large and beautiful, with a high, strong wall all around the house. The wall had only one door: a very strong metal one.

Prince: Here we are at last! Now, my friends, let's close the door. I'll lock it and throw the key over the wall into the lake outside.

1st Man: Right you are! Now nobody will be able to come in or out of the house!

1st Lady: And we'll be safe here inside!

Prince: There is plenty of food in the house, enough for more than a year. We don't have to worry about the Red Death outside any more.

2nd Man: Let the outside world worry about itself!

2nd Lady: How happy we are to have such a clever prince!

by blues 2006-01-08 09:19PM | 0 recs
Re: For Matt Stoller, From TurnerBroadcasting
That's just turnerbroadcasting. We're never sure if he's on drugs or off his medication, but he kind of grows on you after a month or two. Every once in a while turnerbroadcasting even makes sense.
by Gary Boatwright 2006-01-08 10:34PM | 0 recs
uh, uh
Matt, a minor quibble. The Hoosier Homeboy deserves some credit:

Because of this, this,  and this too.

by blueflorida 2006-01-08 09:13PM | 0 recs
the real killer
from the center for disease control,

An estimated 700,000-2.7 million persons die of malaria each year, 75% of them African children.

seems we already have a pandemic and the cure
(DDT) but liberal environmentalist won't let it be used, I hope they have nothing to do with containing a bird flu pandemic

by champiod 2006-01-09 04:29PM | 0 recs
Re: the real killer
DDT is not a cure for malaria.  Its a highly toxic pesticide.  Burn down all the forests and fill in the wet lands.  That would kill mosquitos and end malaria too.  

Or invest in proven medications that actually treat and cure malaria.  We already have the cure, but conservative drug companies wont let them be used.  I hope they have nothing to do with containing a bird flu pandemic.  

by Winston Smith 2006-01-10 07:12AM | 0 recs
The Republicans are right.
Republicans say that Government is weak, wasteful, and incompetent.

...and after six years of Republican control of the Government, they've proved themselves right!

by wayward 2006-01-10 03:34PM | 0 recs


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