One Flu over the Cuckoo’s Nest

This pleasant reminder from our friend Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey writing in Pravda, who gives us this from East Asia about the United Nation’s World Health Organization telling us that avian flu jumping over to humans is now at an emergency state. For those wondering, the last time something like that happened on a grand scale (right after World War I), something like 20 to 30 million people died (let’s just say that given the then smaller world population at the time, a comparable pandemic would kill over 100,000,000 people these days… and since a lot of them would be White Americans… ) Well, I suppose our media will concern itself with this after it’s under way, and some super-model or professional athlete succumbs… Until then…
We, of course, can go back to sleep, and worry about more likely things, like a North Korean ICBM strike that we might be able to thwart with an expensive anti-missile system, or terrorists launching a small-pox plague, or…. LOOK OVER THERE!!!…
The thing with any new strain of flu is… no one is immune to it. The Spanish flu of 1918-19 killed millions of otherwise healthy adults, rather quickly and nastily. Like other flus, we can develop vaccines, but of course, the way we know develop vaccines (one dose per chicken egg, for example) is cumbersome. Worse, as we know, we are down to two, sometimes one, provider of the vaccine (at least here, stateside).
In short, we could probably immunize less than 10% of the world’s population right now, and that with an all out effort, based on our current technology and procurement systems. I tend to think almost certain plague is actually something that should be taken with the deadliest of seriousness, because of its… deadliness. As, however, I don’t necessarily see the mass profit available in vaccine development, I won’t hold my breath that efforts will be made to stave off the eventual pandemic until it’s well under way, and millions are already dead.
Bid’ness is bid’ness, after all. We want the government off our backs and not wasting our money (for which we would have to maybe raise taxes) caring about these sorts of low profit things like public health
Yee ha.