The avian flu situation has clearly taken a turn for the worse, but the WHO nonetheless delivers a stern rebuke to our lyin' eyes:
The growing number of people with bird flu-like symptoms in Indonesia does not mean the outbreak is becoming worse, and there is no sign the virus can be passed easily among people, top U.N. health experts said on Thursday.No sign, that is, except for the growing number of cases, which suggests that the outbreak is becoming worse.
Meanwhile, the CDC refuses to share vital information with researchers:
"Many in the influenza field are displeased with the CDC's practice of refusing to deposit sequences of most of the strains that they sequence," says Michael Deem, a physicist at Rice University in Houston, who works on predicting flu vaccine efficiency. Policy decisions, such as which vaccine to produce ahead of each flu season, are being made without the full data being available to the scientific community, he says. "The quality of their decisions, which can affect millions of people, cannot be checked."As Revere says:
This Administration and its top water carriers at CDC are not just incompetent. They are a danger to the world and everyone in it. We all live in New Orleans now.Too true. And in my opinion, the inexplicable decisions that have been made in regard to H5N1 will fuel conspiracy theories for generations. Just as Bush has undone years of sucking up to black churches with his response to Katrina, the inadequate and obfuscatory official response to H5N1 - if the worst happens - is going to fuel angry worldwide speculation about a planned, or abetted, die-off; the mistrust this engenders, rightly or wrongly, could have ugly and destructive results for years to come.
When the logical response to everything you see and hear is "No one could be that incompetent," it's not much of a leap to assume that there's a malicious policy of willful neglect in place. If enough people make this leap, everything from vaccination programs, to the distribution of birth control, to the mere presence of NGOs in certain countries could be greeted with suspicion and even violence. In addition to the lives that may be lost as a result of our incoherent policies, it's hard to avoid the conclusion that we're maximizing the potential for long-term social destabilization.