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OK, Now I See The Real Problem — Why Now?
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OK, Now I See The Real Problem

Via Echidne, at the Science Blogs the Reveres point out the real problem: we are going to have a double flu season.

This flu doesn’t seem to be any worse than the current version for which a vaccine is available, but the current version kills about 800 people a week in the US. With the new flu, there is the potential that the number of deaths and hospital admissions could double.

Given that the health care industry has cost-cut and consolidated all of the excess capacity out of the system, we don’t have the personnel or facilities available for a single bad flu year, much less a double.

Further, even if you have had the original version, you can get the new version for a double dose of misery.

As for the xenophobes who want to seal the border, undocumented agricultural workers don’t take cruises or fly all over the world.  The flu is being spread by people who can afford to do that and have passports.


1 Moi { 04.30.09 at 10:10 pm }

I am all about staying out of the hospital. No C-Diff for me, thank you.

Moi´s last blog post..Kansas Sucks, Too

2 Bryan { 04.30.09 at 11:29 pm }

It is heartening that many of the schools that are closing, are doing it to thoroughly disinfect them, rather than simply a panic reaction. If I could trust the airlines to do that, I wouldn’t be as down on them as I am.

My Mother noticed that Amtrak is much cleaner than any airplane she has been on in years. I’m so old I remember when airplanes were cleaned when they reached their final destination every day. The last time I flew, I wanted a HazMat suit when I looked inside the first aircraft.

3 Kryten42 { 05.01.09 at 12:18 am }

They’ve installed 20 thermal imaging scanners at the airports here. But that only works to detect people who already have a fever. It won’t catch anyone who has a bug still in the early incubation stage. Still, better than nothing I guess.

CSL (Commonwealth Serum Laboratories), about the only Gov organisation outside of the military Howard didn’t privatize, so it still works, says they will have a vaccine in a few weeks and should have enough for everyone in Aus in 1 to 2 Months. 🙂

They say it’s not a huge concern now, but it can mutate unpredictable and quickly, and they want to be ready for that.

4 Bryan { 05.01.09 at 12:31 am }

You are just at the start of your season, so it would be really bad if you had two going at once. Our season should be winding down.

They are now calling influenza A H1N1, because it really isn’t a true swine flu, it is a hybrid. This is what happens when you cram people or animals together in small spaces – you will have one carrier that can affect those with no immunity.

We really need some hard numbers to model this, which hopefully the teams in Mexico will be able to supply.

It would be nice to know how it spread from the original village, now thought to be ground zero, to the rest of Mexico, because that village is not on a main road.

Too many questions, and insufficient data.