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Fear Mongering and the Swine Flu

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The level of irrationality is astounding on both sides though. MSNBC is covering this as I Am Legend too, in which case it would make perfect sense to close all borders and implement a 24 hour curfew.

Also, Michael Savage and that guy on the Alex Jones website aren't representative of the Conservative movement. This article is attacking Conservatives is a whole, and their only point is Michael Savage's racism. There are dozens of better arguments against their position on immigration than "look at those racists". Unfortunately, making them would conflict with everything MSNBC stand for.

That said, I like your title for our Forum's swine flu thread. It's quite accurate.

[PS] Ironically, on this subject the most reliable source for news is Comedy Central's Daily Show. Out of all the news I've been bombarded with on the swine flu, they were the ones who pointed out how ridiculous the coverage is.

Hiiiiilarious

Edited by Jake_Ellison
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Savage is the honest conservative. I've heard similar things from characters like Hannity about how this wouldn't be a problem if the borders had been secured. Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the leading American authoritarian was on Cavuto yesterday talking about how it's all the fault of open immigration advocates. This isn't even a minority position amongst the conservatives, it's just that Savage states it so bluntly and in that abrasive manner.

How millions of people listen to him for more than 5 minutes is beyond me.

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It's not just NBC, CBS, CBC, BBC... It's the vast majority of news outlets in my opinion. Somewhere in the not too distant past news became ALL about the next fear, or the newest scandal.

News was replaced with infotainment and in order to keep the population infotained they needed a constant stream of crises and mini "morality" plays where the average person could look down their nose at someone and say, to paraphrase Rand... "At least I'm better than the crippled Dwarf or Drug addicted Lesbian".

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It's not just NBC, CBS, CBC, BBC... It's the vast majority of news outlets in my opinion. Somewhere in the not too distant past news became ALL about the next fear, or the newest scandal.

News was replaced with infotainment and in order to keep the population infotained they needed a constant stream of crises and mini "morality" plays where the average person could look down their nose at someone and say, to paraphrase Rand... "At least I'm better than the crippled Dwarf or Drug addicted Lesbian".

Some of my pals and all have taken to calling it ManBearPig flu. I just bought some Vitamin D (which I ought to have anyway) and left it at that.

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It might have been better if they hadn't led off with the racist stuff, and had stressed the more rational perspective at the beginning instead of at the end:

Often, a disease outbreak is an excuse to vent pre-existing prejudices. “It’s fear of people we do not know or who look different,” said Dr. Howard Markel, a medical historian at the University of Michigan and author of “When Germs Travel: Six Major Epidemics That Have Invaded America Since 1900 and the Fears They Have Unleashed.” “You take the fear of the unknown that already exists and then combine that with a real or perceived threat that is contagious disease and it’s explosive."

During the medieval Black Plague, Europeans blamed Jews, saying they poisoned the wells. In an 1892 cholera pandemic, the U.S. blamed immigrant European Jews. In the flu of 1918, Markel said, “Italians blamed the Spanish. The Spanish blamed the Italians. For HIV it was gay men and Haitians.”

...

Tamping down blame and fear isn’t just the right thing to do morally, experts agree, it’s also the right thing to do medically. Germs, Markel stressed, don’t care about skin color or national origins or borders.

“These are naturally occurring events,” he said. “We expect flu pandemics every 30 to 40 years. It’s the cost of living in a world of emerging infectious diseases. That’s the folly of prejudice. They are wherever humans are.”

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Again, if this virus were a real threat, that would not be a racist move. As it is, it's a stupid move, but not a racist one.

It is a threat. Still, what can you do about travel to and from Mexico?

Authorities at Mexican airports are scanning passengers with infrared devices, to measure for signs of fever. Those who're detected get tested for the bug and aren't allowed out of the country if they test positive (I don't know what tests are made or how reliable they are).

Authorities at the destination airport could do the same. What they'd do if a passenger tests positive is open to debate. A plane being a closed space with recirculated air offers a good chance of contagion.

So there's no need to ban travel to or from Mexico, not as things stand.

BTW at least tens of thousands of Mexicans fly to the US every week, all perfectly legal. Millions drive, walk or take a bus across the border every week, too, and gain all legal with US-issued visas at manned border crossings.

In Egypt they're slaughtering all pigs in order to keep an outbreak from happening. That's as stupid as stupid moves get.

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They steal the innocence of white women everywhere!

Thankfully! :P

Kissing has been outlawed in Egypt too, D'kian...what's wrong with those people?! lol!

Edited by K-Mac
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While some of the precautions people might be taking may seem overboard, the fact remains that this flu is dangerous and that we do not have enough Tamiflu in this country to treat everyone. Furthermore, though the strain does not cause serious problems in some, in others, it certainly kills if not treated right away.

I think it is great that we have reached the point in medicine where a virulent strain that could cause a pandemic can be controlled. It is still important to take precautions, however, because regardless of whether this flu might kill you or not, you still don't want to have it and take that chance.

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Furthermore, though the strain does not cause serious problems in some, in others, it certainly kills if not treated right away.

That sounds to me like every strain of the flu.

Or hell, if you get vague enough, every disease known to man.

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Update time.

Schools will reopen May 7th. Restaurants will be allowed to open again provided they limit their clientele to no more than 4 people per 10 suare meters of floor space (I'd like to see how that will be enforced). Movie theaters, bars, night clubs, gyms, etc will remain closed til further notice. No word on when department stores will re-open.

Most people are annoyed now rather than frightened by the swine flu. A majority stil wear surgical masks, and you can't find hand sanitizer alcohol gel anywhere (lucky me I had some at the office for years), but the epidemic is now more a nuissance than a mortal danger. You hear more comments like "Everything's closed,2 and "there's nothing to do," than "Don't even breath until this is over."

It will be months before the tallies are all in, but it seems more people dropped dead of pneumonia than swine flu during this time.

Still I'm not complaining. I think that by reacting, or overreacting, to an outbreak it dies more quickly than it would otherwise. So in the end it's a case of the dog that dind't bark.

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BTW there's also some PC-mongering about the swine flu. The name is undergoing daily changes for some reason.

Thus far the local papers and radio stations (I hardly watch news on TV) are split between calling it "Influenza A" and "Human Influenza." The latter is idiotic as naturally any diseases that affect people can be labeled as "human." What I don't know is why "swine flu" fell out of favor. We had "bird flu" not too long ago and no one complained.

Fact is the flu is a multi-species bug that constantly mutates as it jumps from one species to another. That's why a new vaccine is needed every year, and why vaccines sometimes are ineffective. This current outbreak is not the first time a bad kind of flu has come from swine. Typically any of the semi-benign (meaning non-lethal) varieties of flu are as likely to come from pigs as from other species. So why the fuss?

Oh, pigs are physiologically similar to humans. Indeed pig skin has been used in skin grafts, and heart valve replacements used to be taken from pig hearts (for all I know they still are). Add to that they are domesticated animals widely spread in most human populations, and the chances of sharing diseases with them are high. This isn't unique. We share rabbies with cats and dogs (though humans typically aren't carriers), anthrax with cattle, and I'm sure many other things.

Lastly, please don't ever take antibiotics unless a doctor prescribes them. Antibiotics have ZERO effectiveness against viral diseases like the flu or the common cold (all varieties). They only work against bacteria and some parasites, not on viruses. But taken in low doses, sporadically, or for insufficient time, they help bacteria become resistant to them. This means taking them won't ease your flu or cold symptoms at all, but makes you mroe likely of dying later of an antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseas like, say, pneumonia or TB.

Also don't take antiviral drugs without prescription. These drugs are very new and hard to come by. Thus far they are effective only part of the time against only some viral strains. Viruses mutate faster than bacteria, too, when given the chance.

This time the swine flu proved treatable with two antivirals. I don't want to even imagine what wil happen when we get an anticiral resistant strain of deadly flu.

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BTW there's also some PC-mongering about the swine flu. The name is undergoing daily changes for some reason.

Thus far the local papers and radio stations (I hardly watch news on TV) are split between calling it "Influenza A" and "Human Influenza." The latter is idiotic as naturally any diseases that affect people can be labeled as "human." What I don't know is why "swine flu" fell out of favor. We had "bird flu" not too long ago and no one complained.

It is an Influenza A strain. Why is swine flu a better name than Influenza A-H1N1?

Lastly, please don't ever take antibiotics unless a doctor prescribes them. Antibiotics have ZERO effectiveness against viral diseases like the flu or the common cold (all varieties). They only work against bacteria and some parasites, not on viruses. But taken in low doses, sporadically, or for insufficient time, they help bacteria become resistant to them. This means taking them won't ease your flu or cold symptoms at all, but makes you mroe likely of dying later of an antibiotic-resistant bacterial diseas like, say, pneumonia or TB.

This time the swine flu proved treatable with two antivirals. I don't want to even imagine what wil happen when we get an anticiral resistant strain of deadly flu.

I would assume we didn't have any major antiviral resistant flu outbreaks because of the same reason antibiotic resistant bacteria are less viable: their ability to resist the drugs costs them in viability, making them less "fit" when the drug is not present.

So, while in the presence of the drug, the fittest variants of the mutating virus are the resistant ones, when the drug isn't present, the fittest variants are the non-resitant ones. It is my understanding that it takes a lot more than just some isolated misuse of antivirals for a drug resistant Influenza virus to evolve and spread.

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What I don't know is why "swine flu" fell out of favor. We had "bird flu" not too long ago and no one complained.

Here in the US, the pork industry was getting bent out of shape because meat sales are down considerably even though there is no danger of contracting the virus from cooked pork. I assume the pork lobbyists sprang into action, took their congressmen out for a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, and demanded that government spokesmen call it the H1N1 virus going forward.

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It's ending. Its not all over, but the end is in sight.

Highshcools and universities reopened today. All other schools will reopen next Monday. Restrictions ahve been lifted on restaurants, movie theaters, bars, stadiums, gyms, etc etc etc.

Surgical masks continue to be worn but by less people. As I said previously, it's become a nuisance more thna a danger. We'll see in late Fall when Flu season starts.

Meanwhile the Mexican government chartered an Aeromexico jet to pick up the Mexicans quarantined in China. No word on those Mexicans stranded in Argentina or Cuba.

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It is an Influenza A strain. Why is swine flu a better name than Influenza A-H1N1?

Because this particular strain originated in pigs. It's a descriptive name, like bird flu.

It is my understanding that it takes a lot more than just some isolated misuse of antivirals for a drug resistant Influenza virus to evolve and spread.

How about widespread misuse? Most people I know strat poppint antibiotics when they get the sniffles, even though they're useless against viral infections. All they acomplish, aside from occasionally wrecking their intestinal flora, is to spread resistance around (bacteria can exchange genetic material between species sometimes).

Now that they've been told antivirals cure the flu, I suppose lots of people will start popping Tamiflu when they get the sniffles. It may or may not work (various strains float about in flu season), they may or may not take a full course (that happens when not taken by prescription: you guess doses and times).

In Mexico aside from opiates and amphetamines you can get prescription drugs without showing a prescription most of the time, that includes antibiotics. Thus far antivirals are ahrder to come by, but not that hard. We may yet see a resistant strain of a deadly flu or viral pneumonia in the future. Already there are resistant strains of bacterial pneumonia and TB.

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How about widespread misuse? Most people I know strat poppint antibiotics when they get the sniffles, even though they're useless against viral infections. All they acomplish, aside from occasionally wrecking their intestinal flora, is to spread resistance around (bacteria can exchange genetic material between species sometimes).

This used to drive me nuts when I had small kids. Every time my wife would bring them to the doctor because of a runny nose or a low fever, she would come back with a prescription for the antibiotic Amoxicillin, which comes in a pink liquid form for kids. If this was going on at doctor's offices around the country (and I don't doubt that it was), then a lot of physicians were finding it easier to hand out some antibiotic than to tell a worried mother and a whining kid to go home and get some sleep.

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It's ending. Its not all over, but the end is in sight.

Highshcools and universities reopened today. All other schools will reopen next Monday. Restrictions ahve been lifted on restaurants, movie theaters, bars, stadiums, gyms, etc etc etc.

Surgical masks continue to be worn but by less people. As I said previously, it's become a nuisance more thna a danger. We'll see in late Fall when Flu season starts.

Meanwhile the Mexican government chartered an Aeromexico jet to pick up the Mexicans quarantined in China. No word on those Mexicans stranded in Argentina or Cuba.

This must have cost Mexico quite a bid of money, with so many businesses shut down and tourism stopped. One of the local high schools around here had been planning a trip to Mexico for almost a year, but canceled the trip because of this; instead they are going to Costa Rica.

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Experts predict that the swine flu will kill 30,000 people this year! oh wait, that's the regular flu, and that's every year. I've seen no evidence that this swine flue is more deadly or contagious than any other common strain of flue, it just had a catchy name and was new. In 6 months it will be as forgotten as SARS and Avian Flu.

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