Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Giving Janet Napolitano the Swine Flu

With the fall flu season on the horizon, it's time for the Doomsayers of the Great God Influenza to come to the forefront (of your newspapers and TV screens) and warn us all of an impending pandemic that may in fact kill us all. Yawn.

You wanna know what's really scary, though? "The President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology" are screeching the same alarmist sh*t into the president's ear, with recommendations that can turn a run-of-the-mill fall flu season into an Orwellian nightmare. Let's hear what the president is hearing:

Swine flu may infect half the U.S. population this year, hospitalize 1.8 million patients and lead to as many as 90,000 deaths, more than twice the number killed in a typical seasonal flu, White House advisers said.

President Barack Obama today was urged to speed vaccine production and name a senior member of the White House staff, preferably the homeland security adviser, to take responsibility for decision-making on the pandemic. Initial doses should be accelerated to mid-September to vaccinate as many as 40 million people, the advisory group said.

Sounds like a tempting offer to a president who desperately needs a heroic moment; why not seize the moment and become the great preventer-in chief?

Ah, but this is a slippery fish, fraught with many a sharp dorsal. Rush the vaccinations to start inoculating in September? Really?

Data from clinical trials to assess the safety and effectiveness of swine flu vaccines will start to become available in mid-September, health officials reported Aug. 21. Full results from the two-dose trials won’t be available until mid October.

Is the threat of a deadly flu outbreak that certain that the government must inoculate 40 million Americans with an untested vaccine? And should there be an adverse reaction, one not gauged by the short testing period the President's advisers allow, that kills, say a mere million (hey, it's only 1/40th!) or so? Hmmm...can we say genocide?

And giving Janet Napolitano the "responsibility" to "decision make"? What types of decisions are those, pray tell? Maybe - who gets the vaccine, and who doesn't? And if so, can we trust Janet to operate on need, not on politics? (just how long would Texas have to wait on line behind Chicago, Boston, and the key swing states anyway)? Hmmm.."

We are God's partners in matters of life and death," indeed....

Well, let's go to a Jersey guy - Peter Gross, chief medical officer at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey - who talks some sense:

The predictions seem “overblown,” Gross said, given that swine-flu outbreaks in 1968 and 1957 failed to cause as many deaths, even with medical technology and disease surveillance less advanced than today.

“Influenza, you can make all the predictions you want, but it’s more difficult than predicting the weather,” Gross said in a telephone interview today, after the advisory report was made public. “If influenza was a stock, I wouldn’t touch it.”

And like with "global warming", our president seems more than willing to risk the lives of the people he's sworn to protect in exchange for centralizing power in the central government.

May the swine flu spare no one this year...

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