Thursday, October 16, 2014

Happy Thoughts: Ebola, MRSA, KPC and other Deadly Germs

Can't unopen the box.
OK, I'm not panicking about ebola. That would be stupid.

I do have some concerns about ebola though, so I'm going to dump them here instead of on FB.

If you live in the US, you are about as likely to get hit with a meteor right now as you are to contract ebola virus. If you do get it though, best not show up at your local ER and wait in line, because eventually it is going to be like a Keystone cops versus the media feeding frenzy and you have enough problems.

After all, you have ebola virus (hypothetically), remember? And in the US (or anywhere) that's a problem.

So what can you do that would address your concerns, especially the one about not dying by bleeding out of every orifice and losing one third of your body weight in a few days?

I don't have a fucking clue.

So I'm really hoping I never find myself in that situation.

Lots of people in West Africa have though, and half of them are dead now. If we are to believe anything we read in the press or see on TV (and that's a big if), that 50/50 survival rate might be getting worse: something more like 30/70.

As if we needed any more bad news.

Here are my thoughts:
  • Must the US really spend a squillion gazillion dollars blowing up terrorists halfway around the world for the rest of all eternity? Couldn't we put at least some of that big money into global public health? It's like we are shitting in our own nest and blithely slipping clothespins over our noses and carrying on as if it's someone else's problem.
  • If things get scary enough, even if the real threat from the disease is not huge, institutions get fucked up and start to shut down. Hospital workers walk off the job. People refuse to fly or go to restaurants or send their kids to school. Everyone starts suing everyone else. And it just goes downhill from there. So hopefully someone somewhere knows how to get a grip on things before any of that happens. That would be good if that could happen, quick.
  • Every year a certain percentage of Americans refuse to get flu shots that are basically free or very cheap. The flu kills over 20,000 people in the US each year, on average, but it can and has been much worse. The infamous 1918 Spanish Flu outbreak killed between 40 and 50 million people worldwide, including 675,000 in our own country.
  • The US is creating antibiotic resistant superbugs by feeding antibiotics to meat animals on factory farms. Two new killers: MRSA and KPC. MRSA has become so common kids get it now just from being around other kids. If it gets into their bloodstreams they die. KPC is usually fatal and if it breaks out in a hospital it is hell stopping it. In spite of this, factory farms continue to push meds into animals to get them to market faster and the FDA continues to meekly ask them to voluntarily stop it. They won't.
  • We can't treat ebola in US hospitals, give me a break. Not safely anyway. It's asinine to pretend we can. The pretense is an attempt to calm everyone down. Stop treating people like idiots, CDC, NIH, hospital administrators, and President Obama. Stop it. You're making it worse, eroding trust, confusing people.
  • Now that the Congress has decided to hold show boat hearings, the circus is in town. Be aware that the fear that can be drummed up from this point on is as bad, or worse, than the disease.
I am coming to the conclusion that Americans are, by and large, spoiled pussies. No one gave two shits about ebola until it came here. Africa? What is Africa? Can't see it from my house!

But now that we have a handful of cases here everyone is running around squealing like little children, mommy mommy mommy. 

Can we have some grown ups on board now?

Seriously, what will it take?