Tuesday, July 22, 2008

July 21 Flu Update

Without any more links, just a quick note that the newspaper story that the death of 75 million Britons was "inevitable" is all over the web.

With its latest outbreak occuring outside the normal season, South Korea will monitor for bird flu year round.

Uganda got some World Bank money to fight bird flu.

Interesting blog post on bird flu from a man who moved away from Wisconsin to get away from the liberals (??)

The military in Hawaii is getting ready to fight the bird flu.

USA Today article sent by an alert reader. Notes that in a few short years we went from ravaging store counters of duct tape to yawning in the face of potential disaster.


At 6:20 PM, Blogger Wulfgang said...


You have a very nice set of thought provoking articles today. I got a real chuckle out of your satirical Kit Hayden piece, suggesting that “nature always controls” the outcomes of natural disasters, like wildfires and avian influenza, XR-TB and SARS disease outbreaks. This is pretty much an over simplification and generalization of the facts (I’m sure the author meant it to be funny)…but, I think we can say that without mankind’s calculated insertion of responses to these events to contain them, we could have ended up with extremely disastrous outcomes. Nature controls, but it most often doesn’t rule – so far, mankind has landed in the winner’s circle. That could change if people are not prepared.

The most controversial article you posted is the USA Today article, “Be prepared for disasters, written by Kim Painter. First let me say it is an excellently written summary which describes (and affirms) the sad situation today in the US when it comes to disaster preparation: most people, probably as high as 70% are not prepared, even minimally, for a natural or terrorist disaster. As Ms. Painter points out, the number of unprepared people is sadly increasing over time. I don’t think the main reasons why people don’t have home emergency kits or disaster plans is because “disaster preparedness” is some kind of fad, or even due to the slumping economy – I think it is mainly due to some major negative fundamental underlying cultural and social factors that are inherent in our generation.

I don’t believe people prepare for disasters because of the following reasons:

1. Laziness and Personal Complacency – we have raised an entire generation of people who feel entitled to everything – you name it: food, social services, government assistance, even outrageous reparations for things that occurred 150-250 years ago by our ancestors. People want more, while putting out less effort.

2. Debt and Priorities – the average family in the US is addicted to and burdened with debt and credit cards. The priorities of our current generation are clearly material things (e.g. expensive clothing, automobiles, lavish housing, vacation homes), and hedonistic pursuits (e.g. lavish vacations, dining out, entertainment, Hollywood movies, etc ). We would put the ancient Romans to shame.

3. Convenience of Good and Services – unfortunately, we are the “just-in-time” generation who are spoiled into believing that food, groceries, medicines, health and dental services, social services (and all other deliverables) are almost instantaneous. We are probably the first people in history to be afforded these luxuries. Most unfortunately though, these successes have misled people into a false sense of security and complacency, in my opinion. It all could end abruptly in one single day.

People in the 21st century in the US mostly avoid responsibility for most everything. They don’t want to pay for affordable health care for their families, they would rather spend the wedge of money on a new SUV or Mac-super-sized house and bet they won’t have a medical emergency; they want to retire comfortably at age 65 but they don’t want to save money or sacrifice anything to do it; they want a fulfilling career, but they don’t want to work long hours; they are quick to be patriotic, but don’t want their own sons or daughters to join the military and serve their country; they don’t want to take the time to vote, but are quick to criticize their congressmen and representatives.

It actually takes very little time and money to make a disaster kit, make a family emergency plan and be well informed. There is absolutely no excuse not to be prepared for a national health emergency or natural disaster, even for the laziest of people in America.



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