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Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu - Something Smells

First, Mexico said over a hundred were dead.
Then the World Health Organization said 7.
But even as it revised the death figures down, it raised the pandemic rating UP.


Everyone agrees that there are no difference between the Mexican and US viral strains, but Mexicans are dying and being hospitalized, US patients aren't. If the strains aren't different, then there must be a difference in medical care, patient nutrition or some other aspect of immuno-competency. That is, the Mexicans are deficient in something that none of the US patients are deficient in. But no one is saying there ARE any such differences.

And if there were, what would the difference(s) be?

Everyone is saying that we have to quarantine now because it will otherwise enter the population and emerge much more virulent in a year or two.

That's just stupid.

No one has explained why a virus would get MORE virulent over time. Virii don't get more virulent over time. The idea that it would is completely counter to evolutionary theory.

Killing/incapacitating your host doesn't bode well for you, if you're a virus/bacteria. When the host dies, you die. The more virulent strains die with their hosts. The more incapacitating strains don't spread as efficiently because the host is flat on his back, vomiting into a bucket by himself. It's the weak strains that spread efficiently, not the virulent ones. And if the strains are virtually identical, then when a weaker, more efficiently spread virus gets fought off by a host, the host will be immune to the more virulent strain.

So, if this virus does anything, it will become adapted to the host, and thus LESS virulent over the next few months/years, not more virulent. That's how the Black Death disappeared, that's how a whole host of nasty diseases went away.

Strains always become less virulent over time unless you are attacking them, as with the MRSA bacteria. They get more virulent because we attack the bacteria with antibiotics until only the really virulent ones are left. But antibiotics don't work on virii because antibiotics attack cell membranes - that works great for cells like bacteria, but virii are just DNA strands. Antibiotics can't touch them.

So why is everyone worried about this thing getting more virulent?

The prevalence is microscopic, the flu isn't very virulent, it isn't going to get more virulent, and no one is interested in border control, although everyone seems interested in shutting down schools. Why is it that border control will NOT work and shutting down large public gatherings WILL work?

If wearing scarfs works, then have everyone at school wear scarfs. If it doesn't work, why are people being told it does?

What's the difference between the border around the mouth, around a school, around a church or around a country? Why are some kinds of border control encouraged, others not? And I'm asking this question as someone who has always opposed national border patrols. I don't see the logic in the arguments.

Very little of what I've heard in the news about this virus makes any sense. We've got enormous governmental response to essentially no serious numbers of cases. This whole thing smells to high heaven.


Ann said...

I agree that something weird is going on here. Never have they closed the schools for one case of flu in a whole district. It's a huge overreaction that smacks of another "crises" so we can be rescued by the government. We just go word that our school district will be closed all next week. They take the kids out of a controlled environment and let them loose on the whole area. Makes no sense.

Patrick said...

In my opinion, this smells like a setup to get support for universal healthcare. Currently, there has been so much outcry and resistance against a centralized health database with every citizens personal information in it to be shared between government designated healthcare providers. Create a pandemic scare and now the government can create the legislation to support it and the healthcare industry can no longer argue that it's not necessary. One more government move, like TARP/TARP II and the Bailout, to scare the population into complying with anything they want to push. I can see no other realistic alternative answer.

Ann said...

I agree with Patrick's assessment. Here is a statement from something I received from our local police department: In response to the Centers for Disease Control recommendation that affected states with at least one laboratory-confirmed case of H1N1 (swine flu) virus consider activating community mitigation interventions for affected communities. Did you see that "one confirmed case"? If that had been in place even last year, all the schools and communities in the country would have to be closed because there were way more than just one case of regular flu or bird flu. This is a concerted effort to keep everyone in crisis mode and in panic and asking the government to save us.