Archive for the ‘Media reporting’ Category
In the world of Viral Times, not so far into the future, a global pandemic has changed us all. A virus triggers The New Flu and it evolves to H.I.V.E-5. AIDS Ultra follows. The government rounds up the infected and locks them into Health Camps, quarantined for secret drug testing. It’s only a few years into our future, those viral times. But in our today, Gizmodo is looking at how to survive such a crisis.
Our society is setting itself up for a global-scale disaster. Diseases, particularly those of tropical origin, are spreading faster than ever before, owing to more long-distance travel, urbanization, lack of sanitation, and ineffective mosquito control—not to mention global warming and the spread of tropical diseases outside of traditional equatorial confines. Accordingly, Oxford’s Global Priorities Project has listed a possible future pandemic as one of the worst catastrophic threats currently facing humanity.
And viruses are right at the top of the list of threats in the article. We have no way of defending ourselves with drugs of today. The advice on survival begins with storing away fresh water, and the writer adds, “You should also get the latest seasonal vaccine. It may not protect you against the mutated strain, but then again, it just might.”
Ah, the heady drama of last fall. H1N1 was a steady source of worry, creating the Worried Well and sparking a fevered drive to stock up on vaccine. In October CBS interviewed Dr. Troyen Brennan, the Chief Medical Officer of CVS, the drug store chain.
Asked if there will be enough H1N1 vaccine to go around, Brennan said, “We do believe there will be enough. The government’s been very careful in terms of the amount of H1N1 it’s ordered and that’s coming online right now.”
And so millions of Americans queued up for a Swine Flu shot, some at CVS, along with a seasonal flu shot. Boy, was there ever enough of the H1N1 vaccine. Too much for Europe, where some claim that Swine Flu was a fake epidemic. From NPR, “Governments all across Europe are canceling orders of swine flu vaccine as frantically as they were clamoring for it a few month ago.” Alas, we’re more determined to be protected in the US.
The government is thinking about how much more swine flu vaccine to order up and pay for. But Health and Human Services spokesman Bill Hall says any decision to scale back vaccine orders is “weeks away.” Let’s take stock. Last spring the US government signed contracts for $1.5 billion worth of vaccine against the novel H1N1 virus–251 million doses. So far, 55 percent of that amount has been shipped, and something like 60 million Americans have been vaccinated. That leaves 45 percent of the contracted-for vaccine yet to be delivered. That’s 115 million doses, worth about $675 million.
Okay, it’s under a billion dollars, so it won’t even show up in the US budget.
But the cost of stress-induced concern about health, missed work time to vaccinate, isolation of the populace that didn’t want to risk being in this epidemic: much greater. There’s a payoff for coverage as breathless and shallow as the CBS Early Show stuff, thank goodness. We’re being innoculated from the sudden panic of virus outbreaks. Read the rest of this entry »