Tuesday, July 15, 2008

'Return of the BIG BIRD-brained FLU-doo voodoo' or 'One Flu Over The Cuckoo's Nest Egg'

NATURALLY Speaking guest commentary by Christopher C. Barr:

The summer movie season is in full swing and sequels are big again this year in films. Not to be left out of sequel mania is the unholy trinity of BIG government, BIG pharma and BIG media with their own pharmaceutical phantasy of phearful phlim-phlammery.

US health official says flu threat high,” the AP (Associated Propagandaess) “news” headline teased about the mysterious, unnamed figure.

How is “flu threat high” at the beginning of summer more than three months before the official beginning of flu season? Must be science fiction.

World not fully prepared for flu pandemic: expert,” the Reuters (rotten) “news” headline blazed.

Perhaps they are pulling out of mothballs that old and tired BIG bird-brained flu-doo voodoo story?

A top U.S. health official says the threat of a flu pandemic remains high,” opened (and opined) the AP “news” story.


In order for a “bird flu” threat to remain high it would first have to be high.

There is no evidence it will be the next pandemic,” no less an “expert” (so called) and “top U.S. health official” than Dr. Julie Gerberding, Director of the U.S. government's Centers for Disease Creationtrol (CDC) is on record telling a large group of health department officials.

Scientists have identified the H5N1 bird flu virus as a potential candidate that could mutate into a form that spreads easily among people,” blah blah blahs the recent AP “news” story about this tired, old “news” paraded out as new “news”.

Talk about beating a dead horse …

Dr. Gerberding is on record about this H5N1 that there is “no evidence it is evolving in a direction that is becoming more transmissible to people.

Yet Reuters in their blah blah blah story noted H5N1 could “kill millions of people if it becomes easily transmissible among humans.

Gerberding again is on record that there is “no reason to think it ever will” pass easily between people. She also noted that those afflicted “were in intense, daily contact with sick flocks, often sharing the same living space,” according to a newspaper report by The News Tribune from the Seattle, Washington area.

There were 200 sickened worldwide during the first half of the current bird flu “threat” to date covering just over two years. There have been less than 200 more sickened worldwide during the last half of the current bird flu “threat” to date covering just over two years.

Where’s the beef about bird flu besides beefing up bogus bird flu threat reports?

Putting into perspective the total deaths attributed to bird flu worldwide works out to less than one one-hundred-thousandths of one percent per year of worldwide population.

Putting further perspective on this is that that would equate to barely two Americans per year in our population.

Of course, there hasn’t even been a single incidence of bird flu in American birds or humans (bird brained or otherwise) let alone deaths.

Then again, I’m not aware of any Americans “in intense, daily contact with sick flocks, often sharing the same living space.”

To put this in Shakespearean terms it would appear that “Measure For Measure” the bird flu threat is “Much Ado About Nothing” or at least nothing much at all.

Dragging out old movie cliches

Be afraid, be very afraid” and “It’s b-a-a-a-a-c-k” seem to be the selling points for this latest sequel.

But just who is the mysterious “U.S. health official” and “expert” being trotted out for this attempting to repeat episode?

Oh, FINALLY, there it is farther down in both the “news” stories …

Ladies and Gentlemen, it’s Dr. Julie ‘Chicken Little’ Gerberding with her old “sky is falling” routine again.

People have very short attention spans and when something is in the news for a while, it becomes old news and then it’s no news,” ‘Chicken Little’ Gerberding blah blah blahed at the beginning of this summer.

Hmm,” me thoughts to meself, “Tamiflu sales must be down.

After all, even the FDA finally caught up (a little) with an official warning of the dangers of Tamiflu earlier this year – even if it was years behind official Japanese warnings where the vast majority of Tamiflu usage has occurred.

Sounding more like science phiction now …

One week later …

Fears of bird flu are receding and sales of the anti-flu drug Tamiflu have slumped,” began the AP “news” story the week following ‘Chicken Little’ Gerberding’s pronouncement of concerns about diminishing public attention to bird flu.


In a pig’s eye…

This latest “news” article then noted that the makers of Tamiflu were offering a new deal for corporate America to pay a small annual per-employee-fee to reserve doses just in case “a new super-flu strikes”.

Apparently there are no more bridges in Brooklyn to sell.

Sounding more and more like science phiction …

The U.S. government, in an unusual move, congratulated Roche on the program and helped to publicize it,” propagandized the AP puff piece.

Are they kidding? What is so unusual about U.S. government officials lauding and promoting BIG pharma?

The Roche plan “comes as the federal government also begins a new effort to encourage many businesses to stockpile anti-flu dugs in case of a pandemic,” AP’s propaganda continues about this amazing coincidental timing (NOT!).

It appears that AP is working overtime and very hard to make something obviously orchestrated to appear “desperately random” to quote the serial killer movie ‘Silence of the Lambs’. Are you ready to be one of the silent “lambs to the slaughter”?

Under this latest “new deal” boondoggle companies would pay whatever the going rate happens to be at the time of any later pandemic.

Responding to concerns that “the price conceivably could spike” the CEO of Tamiflu’s maker Hoffman-La Roche, identified as George Abercrombie, rejected that as “a bit of a cynical view” then adding “that is not the way our company operates”.

If you are now throwing up that is not the bird flu but more likely a natural gut reaction.

Tamiflu sales were noted as down almost 20 per cent to “only” about $2 billion.

Don’t you feel sorry for Tamiflu makers Roche and all their high-profile investors including prominent political figures like Donald Rumsfeld?

Christopher C. Barr writes Naturally Speaking from Arkansas: The Natural State … naturally! You may write him at Post Office Box 1147, Pocahontas, Arkansas 72455 or by e-mail at servantofYHVH@hotmail.com.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is really not that difficult.

Yes, there is a threat of pandemic flu when it isn’t flu season because this has nothing to do with seasonal flu. An influenza pandemic can start at any time of year – spring and summer as well as fall and winter.

The threat of pandemic from the H5N1 virus has never decreased – the media lost interested so it dropped out of the headlines but the threat has been there.

This isn’t old news being paraded out as new news. It is a continuing threat.

The virus that caused the 1918 killed 50 million people. The H5N1 virus is similar to the 1918 virus.

Many of the people who are infected at this point have had close contact with birds – this would change during a pandemic.

The point is that a pandemic begins when the virus changes and it passes easily from person to person. At that point, no contact with birds will be needed for a person to become infected. Infection will be transmitted by a person who is infected – and contagious for a day or two before they have symptoms.

Scientists are examining the RNA of the virus and it is acquiring the changes needed to pass easily from person to person.

There have not been huge numbers of people infected up to this point in time because a pandemic hasn’t yet begun.

The current fatality rate worldwide with good medical care and antiviral drugs is over 60%. In Indonesia where the virus is most active it is over 80%.

It is meaningless to talk about the numbers of people infected at this time when a pandemic hasn’t yet begun.

Americans will not need to be in “intense daily contact with sick flocks, often sharing the same living space” in order to become infected during a pandemic. Americans will not need to see a bird in order to become infected during a pandemic. The threat will come from infected people not infected birds.

Tamiflu may very well not work during a pandemic – many strains of the H5N1 virus have become Tamiflu resistant. But since it will take at least 6 to 9 months to produce and manufacture a vaccine, and since there won’t be huge quantities of vaccine when manufacturing does begin, Tamifu is the best we’ve got.

No one will have immunity to the virus and we do not have enough Tamiflu for even 25% of our population.

I don’t feel sorry for Roche or the officials in the federal government, state governments, and local governments who are doing an under whelming job at preparing for pandemic flu. I do feel sorry for the American people who for the most part are unaware of the potential problem.


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