Skip to comments.Is SARS the new bubonic plague?
Posted on 04/29/2003 7:47:04 AM PDT by mikeb704
Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) is getting massive media treatment. People wearing respiratory masks grace this weeks covers of Time, Newsweek and U.S. News.
With the war in Iraq thankfully close to being over, and the Beltway snipers, Chandra Levy and Elizabeth Smart stories pretty much played out, its been lean times for the news outlets. Theyre still squeezing out what they can from the murder of Laci Peterson, but with the suspect apprehended theres just not that much to talk about. Speculation about Lacis husbands dye job and other minutia is only good for a couple of hours a day.
So we have ABC News reporting a few weeks ago on "the epidemic of a mysterious killer pneumonia." CNNs medical correspondent described the outbreak as " sort of an epidemiological disaster." According to Newsweek, "SARS (and fear of the mysterious disease) has already infected economies in Asia and Canada. Now U.S. markets are starting to look a little sickly, too." Time states, "As the truth about SARS comes outslowly, due in large part to government cover-ups in the land of its birthit is becoming clear that what is taking place in Asia threatens the entire world."
A Gallup poll taken the first week of April found 37 percent of those surveyed feeling at least a little worried that they or someone in their family will be exposed to SARS. With the steady media drumbeat, more Americans will be worrying more I suspect.
Lets keep this in perspective. The World Health Organization (WHO), as of three days ago, says that a total of 5,050 people have contracted SARS. Of those, 321 have died. The overwhelming majority of cases are in Asia. The United States has reported 41 cases, but no deaths.
The passing away of an innocent person is always unfortunate and whatever measures that can be taken to stop SARS should be. But in a country where more than 42,000 people died in car accidents just last year, the SARS statistics are not all that alarming. This is particularly true when you take into account that WHO states over half of those diagnosed with SARS have recovered.
Part of the SARS story concerns Chinas efforts to cover up the extent of the initial outbreak. Its alleged that officials placed SARS patients in ambulances and sent them cruising through the streets to avoid visiting World Health physicians. Critics maintain that such shenanigans have impaired Chinas credibility.
Thats ridiculous. Communist China has killed tens of millions of people over the decades. That didnt hurt its standing in much of the world community. But hide SARS victims and now, finally, the world realizes what a bad actor China is.
Certainly we should be concerned with SARS. But the hysteria were seeing isnt justified at this point. The disease has been identified, steps are taken to minimize its spread, and researchers are working on finding effective treatments. The antiviral drug ribavirin and steroids have helped in some instances.
The near-panic surrounding SARS is reminiscent of the frenzy that emerged when AIDS became widely recognized. Youll recall that some dire predictions were made. That fount of scientific knowledge, Oprah Winfrey, said in 1987: "Research studies now project that one in five - listen to me, hard to believe - one in five heterosexuals could be dead from AIDS at the end of the next three years. That's by 1990. One in five. It is no longer just a gay disease. Believe me."
No doubt Winfreys fans, many of whom are every bit as dim-witted as their heroine, did believe that. Fortunately, her calamitous prophecy never came to pass. She wasnt even close. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention maintains the relevant statistics. In 2000, fewer than 6,600 people were exposed to AIDS through heterosexual contact.
Human behavior changes when confronted with a serious threat. That is what will happen with SARS. Its no coincidence that countries with modern medical facilities have a much higher recovery rate than those that dont.
So toss aside the news magazines and ignore TV and radio coverage. We dont have another black death about to explode. Its not the end of the world.
Neither are a few hundred gun deaths.
A million abortions, on the other hand, are significant.
For example, with 50%+ taxes, I don't work as hard.
Today, the advent of better medicine and improved communications allows for the quarantine of travelers to minimize the spread of disease.
Alright everyone take a deep breath. We should all be focusing on the really important stuff...like the NFL Draft, The Texas Ranger's season and will the Mavericks win it all for Mark Cuban! Okay so that's a Dallas perspective but more healthy then being a SARs worry wort!
Oh, sure, get everybody infected. You're one of Them, aren't you?
Bwa ha ha ha ha!
- About 1/2 of those infected require a ventilator and steroids to survive.
- If you share a closed space with somebody who is infectious, you're likely to contract the disease.
- Those hardest hit are healthcare workers initially.......and they are trained in sanitation techniques and have all necessary protective clothing and accessories.
If SARS breaks into the general population worldwide, especially in the 3rd world....we may see a plague that kills 10's of millions. The health care systems of even developed countries will be overwhelmed.
Whether introduced by man or nature, this disease COULD kill on a scale unrivaled in history. Not unlike Chicken Pox being itroduced for the first time into a population of 6billion.......almost all children and only about 1/2 of adults would survive. However, the generation after introduction would be barely affected.
Curses, Now My Secret is Revealed!
1. If nobody from 'round here has it, must not be serious ('specially if its far away, Asia or somewheres like that).
2. If there ain't lots of cases by now then there never will be, neither. (Fergit about all them nurses and docs who got sick in spite of all the precautions they was takin'. It ain't very contagious.)
3. The whole story is jest to sell more papers.
Don't agree with you on "the basic message." Then again. . .