Monday, 04 May 2009

Swine Flu Battle Called "Encouraging"

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student makes statement re swine flueThough the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta said on May 4 that the virus it now officially designates as "novel H1N1 flu" has been confirmed in six more states since the previous day, there were signs that the severity of the illness is less than initially feared.

"We're seeing encouraging signs," CDC Acting Director Richard E. Besser said in an interview on NBC's Today show. "And the encouraging signs have to do with severity." However, Besser said the virus is still spreading, "and we expect that we'll see it very soon reported in all 50 states."

Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported on May 4 that Mexican authorities had lowered their flu alert level in Mexico City and prepared to reopen many businesses and tourist sites during the week. The Post cited officials who said that although the confirmed swine flu death toll had risen slightly, the epidemic appears to be ebbing.

"The trend is slowing," Mexico's Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova told a news conference on May 4. But he warned that "a resurgence is possible, and this could occur in the coming days or even much later."

"Mexico is trying to return to normalcy as soon as possible," Mexican President Felipe Calderón stated in a televised interview the night of May 3.

In New York, where the first case of the flu appeared at a Queens prep school following the return of a group of students from spring break in Mexico, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the illness so far had proven to be "a relatively minor annoyance." Classes at St. Francis Preparatory School resumed on May 4.

The New York Daily News reported that school administrators had assured parents that the school had been completely sanitized and that ill students were recovering.

"We're feeling awesome," St. Francis freshman Daniela Serringer, who had two friends diagnosed with the flu, told the News. "I really trust the school."

President Obama noted on May 1 that the swine flu outbreak may turn out to be no worse than ordinary flu.

"It may turn out that H1N1 runs its course like ordinary flus, in which case we will have prepared and we won't need all these preparations," Obama said. "We're taking it seriously," adding that even if the flu turns out to be mild, it could come back in a deadlier form during the normal flu season.

The question remains as to why the president of the United States considers fighting the flu — or any illness — as part of his job description. After all, during a televised forum hosted by "mega-pastor" Rick Warren last August, when asked at what point a baby gets "human rights," candidate Obama deftly sidestepped the question by answering: "Whether you're looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity ... is above my pay grade."

If unborn life in the womb — which can be detected by anyone who can look at an ultrasound — is above the president's pay grade, then why not remove all health-related issues from all federal officials? Especially subjects as complex as virology and epidemiology.

It would be far simpler to have federal officials concentrate solely on responsibilities delegated to them by the Constitution, leaving other matters to the states or to the people.

However, given the current mind-set in Washington, expecting federal officials to voluntarily downsize and revert back to constitutional government may be largely wishful thinking.

During a recent interview by a reporter from CNN of Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a medical doctor, Dr. Paul provided an excellent explanation of why some people might be promoting an overly aggressive governmental response to H1N1 flu crisis:



This idea that government has to come to the rescue I think it's more or less a reflection that we have too many in government that like the idea that they have to justify their existence, so whether it's foreign policy: scare the people to death, great fear — then you can do what you want. If it's an economic crisis: scare the people to death, then you can socialize the economy. In medicine: scare the people to death and then you'll say oh, only the government can take care of us. So I think a lot of that is happening and we're on the move to socialize medicine, so we're scaring the people and saying the only people who can save us will be the government.

From the time when government officials first learned that crises — any crises — afforded a perfect pretext for the expansion of government and an increase in governmental powers, bureaucrats have waited for the next crisis to occur with bated breath.

Sometimes (and we are not saying this is one of them) they have even created crisis situations themselves to help the process along.

Photo of an unidentified student making a statement that the swine flu issue is overblown: AP Images

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