It seems that all the world quakes in fear over the impending doom whose name is Swine Flu. Here in San Antonio, the Centers for Disease Control are closing school districts for two weeks, calling churches and closing them, and there’s a general sense that the sky just might be falling.
From the AP, the Director General of the World Health Organization warns that this flu has pandemic potential, and countries from Russia to Taiwan are preparing to quarantine people with flu-like symptoms. Changi International Airport in Singapore began using thermal scanners on all passengers arriving from the United States to detect the earliest signs of flu.
The European Union urged Europeans to postpone all non-essential travel to the United States, although the same article mentions that a case has turned up in Spain. The flu scare has even hit the markets as the Dow opened up the day below 8000 on fears that the virus could slow economic recovery, especially the travel industry.
At home, the Obama administration declared a public health emergency, although Homeland Security Secretary Janet “Little Napoleon” Napolitano assured Americans that it sounds worse than it really is (really? What could be worse than “pandemic” and “public health emergency”?), stating, “I wish we could call it a “declaration of emergency preparedness” I wonder why they can’t.
The interesting thing is that preparations to treat the flu in the United States include releasing new stockpiles of Tamiflu & Relenza, which are common place flu fighting drugs. Of the 80 or so reported cases in the U. S., none so far have been fatal. Could the huge danger in Mexico be more related to the living conditions and lack of access to good medicine and clean water, etc?
It’s also worth noting that there are 20 vacancies in Obama’s Department of Health & Human Services, including the Secretary. Obama also hasn’t appointed a Surgeon General or head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and his choice to run the Food & Drug Administration is still awaiting confirmation. So it would seem that, at this point, the Obama administration would be poorly prepared to handle such a serious, medical event with the potential to impact the entire globe.
It’s precisely at this point in the process, not yet 100 days into the Obamistration, that I have to admit my fear weariness. First, the economy was on its last legs and apart from drastic governmental intervention the whole thing could collapse. Then, the earth is heating up and the oceans near their boiling points because of man made climate change. Doom and gloom hover forever on the horizon, always waiting to pounce on the poor, fragile planet and its human inhabitants.
Those fear issues are easy strings to pull, because they are so closely linked with extremely political moves by this administration. When the economy suddenly doesn’t collapse, then it’s because of noble & drastic action taken by the President in the face of a unified conservative opposition. When the oceans suddenly don’t boil, then the now unpopular cap-n-trade tax will all be worth it, won’t it?
But what if global warming and the severity of the economic crisis were greatly exaggerated? What if things aren’t as bad as they may have been come across? We’ll never know, and the truth is that I’m jaded by the Administrations repeated mantra to “never let a crisis go to waste.” When those in power seem like opportunists, and crisis after crisis seems to fit in line with their expansionist agenda, it just makes me wonder.
I don’t doubt that there’s flu out there, there’s been flu every year and will be flu every year. I just wonder if this “pandemic” is going to be another close call, narrowly averted by the timely intervention of a quick thinking (although poorly staffed) administration. I wonder if this “crisis” may be just the thing we all need to remind us how much better it would all be if we “had access to the same kind of health care that our Senators & Congressmen had,” even if we can’t pay for it. I wonder if we the people can be moved, by fear, to accept any protection or safeguard that comes down the pike, even if it’s a poorly thought out, exceedingly expensive, and repeatedly proved failure like European and Canadian brand of socialized medicine.
We’ll see what opportunity this crisis presents, and how best not to waste it.
crossposted at realityunwound