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View Diary: H1N1: Why Do Schools Close, And When Do They Open? (249 comments)

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  •  it is a little odd (0+ / 0-)

    that "seasonal flu" (which kills tens of thousands every year) gets dismissed as a side note while the panic flag gets waved for the "new" H1N1 (which turns out not to be "new" at all, but rather something that everyone over 50 has probably already had at least once).

    Why don't we shut down schools and public gatherings every time any cases of any flu appear?  Why don't we shut down the highways every year that more than a thousand people die in automobile acidents?

    There are many public health issues that are essentially ignored.  Public health is, in general, woefully underfunded, and public education on public health issues is woefully inadequate.  We spend billions for bombs but lack the basic infrastructure to produce vaccines or anti-viral medicines in the quantities necessary to actually matter.  But we go crazy when someone raises the spectre of "swine flu is coming to get you (and it's "those Mexicans" fault).

    A little proportionality, and rationality, would be nice . . .

    •  This, then, is a teachable moment (3+ / 0-)

      Public concern over this "Swine flu" provides us with an opportunity to show how politics and public policy affect health. If the government responds well and actually leads on this, perhaps the public will learn to trust government a bit more on other public health issues such as vaccination and health insurance.  Having a government that works and deals with this flu problem can be an asset in the upcoming debate on health care reform.

      Always grateful to wake up alive.

      by Subo03 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 08:55:11 AM PDT

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      •  it is, but what we're getting (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Loquatrix

        is Chicken Little rather than real education.  It's easy to ramp up a "panic reaction", but it rarely leaves people any wiser when the panic subsides.  More likely it leaves them more cynical and complacent next time, as they remember back to the last panic that didn't pan out.

        •  I see a measured response (4+ / 0-)

          What I see coming from the Obama administration is calm and competence.  Decisions are being made on the basis of science.  Media reaction, for sure, is across the board from cynicism to sensationalism.  My own state and local governments as well as the federal administration is performing quite well as far as I can see.  Preparations are being made.  That makes sense to me.  Every year I see my state of Florida's response to urricanes and I'm reassured by its competence.  Most times the  preparations aren't needed but when it is, it generally works.  I spent a few minutes in my classroom this week calming student fears and dispelling rumors with facts and science.  I see the Obama administration doing the same things.

          Always grateful to wake up alive.

          by Subo03 on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:18:28 AM PDT

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        •  the hysteria comes from the media (0+ / 0-)

          trying to hype everything that comes down the pike, in order to attract more customers. Wolf Blitzer et al. It started with Iran hostage and will never end. Add in the nativists, Fauxers, Dobbsers, et al plus the rumor factor....chaos.

          fouls, excesses and immoderate behavior are scored ZERO at Over the Line, Smokey!

          by seesdifferent on Tue May 05, 2009 at 08:49:35 AM PDT

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    •  Deward, the difference seems to be (0+ / 0-)

      that we don't have a vaccine for this strain of flu, whereas during "regular" flu season, vaccine is almost always abundantly available for strains  that health officials know will be out there.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Sun May 03, 2009 at 09:36:33 AM PDT

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      •  There is of course not an (4+ / 0-)

        absolute guarantee that the seasonal vaccine will protect you from getting the flu. It is a compromise mixture based on educated guesses. It does reduce risk, but doesn't eliminate it.

         

      •  they've guessed wrong (0+ / 0-)

        for the past three years, and there's been little protection (except for "natural immunity" and holdover from previous vaccinations) for the "seasonal flu" strains that actually did develop.  If you were correct there would as a practical matter not be a "regular" flu season, as immunization would be widespread.

        In fact thousands of people die each year of "seasonal flu" and we all but ignore it, while going into panic mode over this (relatively mild) re-occurance of H1N1.

        •  that's not correct,actually (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          CalifSherry, Abra Crabcakeya

          first of all, there's a good deal of partial immunity and second of all, the seasonal flu protected against A but not B.

          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

          by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 10:13:07 AM PDT

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          •  it didn't protect (0+ / 0-)

            the more than ten thousand people who died of "seasonal flu" this past flu season.  Where's the panic about that ? ? ?

            •  what are you talking about? (0+ / 0-)

              honestly, what are you talking about?

              "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

              by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 11:38:24 AM PDT

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              •  influenza (0+ / 0-)

                http://findarticles.com/...

                Against that background death rate H1N1 is lost in the noise, and the failure of current vaccination policy is obvious.

                •  define failure (0+ / 0-)

                  do you think that everyone who should be isn't vaccinated? or that vaccination when given doesn't work? they are all different issues.

                  "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                  by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 12:41:01 PM PDT

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                  •  30,000 plus deaths per year (0+ / 0-)

                    from what should be a preventable disease, is failure.

                    And it makes the Chicken Little handwringing about H1N1 look stupid . . .

                    •  your analysis is, to borrow a phrase (0+ / 0-)

                      strikingly superficial. ;-P

                      Why do you think flu is so easily a preventable disease? You make it sound like if only x and y were done, then that number would be zero - and someone made it be 36K. Do you attribute it to vaccine failure or failure to inoculate? Why is it a "fault" when the elderly do not respond as well to vaccine as younger patients?

                      etc, etc, etc.

                      "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                      by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 01:20:04 PM PDT

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                      •  it's not my job (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:
                        DemFromCT

                        to school you in public health . . . and if you believe that our current policy toward influenza is working fine, and H1N1 is our biggest "flu" problem, I doubt that anyone can.

                        etc, etc, etc.

                        •  I wish people would not be so binary (0+ / 0-)

                          "If people die then the entire public health system is a failure [your word]."

                          Maybe, if they are preventable deaths. Has that been established? Not to my knowledge. That's my point.

                          My friend revere will be doing a post tomorrow or the next day on that 35K-36K number, where it comes from, and what it means. let's understand it better before jumping to "success" or "failure" as a label.

                          "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                          by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 03:10:18 PM PDT

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                          •  when you have to fabricate (0+ / 0-)

                            to make your (failed) point you'd do better to just quit.

                            "If people die then the entire public health system is a failure [your word]."

                            NOT my words, of course . . . what I wrote was

                            30,000 plus deaths per year from what should be a preventable disease, is failure.

                          •  sigh... your point is what, exactly? (0+ / 0-)

                            you have addressed nothing I pointed out. Get a grip on the complexity of the issue.

                            36K is a lot of deaths, but it's neither simple to define, simple to define as "preventable", as you have, nor simple to fix, as you imply. It would be wonderful to be able to do those things and prevent those deaths. Can you point to any, y'know, references, facts or other data that would enlighten us about those key issues? Can you define why they are preventable?

                            If not, maybe you should avoid using the word "failure".

                            "Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies." - Groucho Marx

                            by Greg Dworkin on Sun May 03, 2009 at 03:46:21 PM PDT

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    •  "Seasonal flu", though, . . . (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SlackwareGrrl

      . . . causes the highest mortality among infants and the elderly. "Novel" strains of the flu seem to cause greater mortality among young to middle-aged, otherwise healthy, adults.

      We're seeing an utterly abhorrent, but biologically understandable, double-standard at work: Kids and the elderly are "weak", and not as "valuable" to society. The elderly are "going to die anyway", and children can be "replaced". But if an illness is taking out doctors, firemen, teachers, farmers, politicians -  it's time to do something about it!

      "Have nothing in your houses that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful." -William Morris

      by Robespierrette on Sun May 03, 2009 at 11:01:24 AM PDT

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