Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

WHO Pandemic call wrong? but important.

Dear Editor,

Henry Miller (A premature Pandemic call, Sunday, June 14) may be a smart man but he’s going to feel pretty stupid if H1N1 mutates this fall or winter into a far more lethal pandemic. Given the horrific death toll that could result from ignoring this possibility WHO’s decision to call it a ‘level 6’ was hardly “dubious”. Given, the almost non-existent global health infrastructure and our own competent yet insufficient domestic emergency medical capacity both we and the world will need as much time as possible to prepare. Any serious virologist knows will a killer pandemic will come and is in fact overdue. If H1N1 continues to be a dud…consider it excellent practice. The inevitable killer pandemic will come and ‘practice makes perfect’ and “be prepared” are not just cute phrases. When facing something as powerful as a natural mutating virus or even a human-made viral WMD that some whacko bioterrorist is inevitably working on, being too cautious is the same as being real dead.
Suggesting that WHO’s “policy role should be limited drastically’ is odd given that it already is. Each country is allowed to do whatever it wants, whenever it wants, and to whomever it wants regarding infectious out breaks within its own borders. That’s a receipt for absolute chaos and catastrophically lethal and expensive consequences. If Dr. Miller doesn’t mind paying this catastrophic price for protecting our nation’s sovereignty –I would classify him as “scientifically challenged”. Nowhere in nature does ‘national sovereignty’ exist. It only resides in our minds and written on paper documents. And pathogens can’t read words on paper or our minds.
If we, WHO and the rest of the world remain woefully unprepared in the midst of the next serious pandemic Dr. Miller will be remembered as the “witless Monty Python character.”
We need far more global health policy procedures and funding. Enforceable policies and dependable funding. Currently we have none. And Dr. Miller wants less? Is it any wonder why conservatives lost the last election?

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