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Plague Doctor

Meh, I’m probably not going anywhere with this. I just had it stuck in my head, the resemblance between Medieval plague doctors and all those guys in hazmat suits.

I’m a big fan of pandemics. Have I ever mentioned that? Black Death, Spanish flu, polio. Been reading up on them for years, only in part because we’re overdue for another big one.

Ebola is probably — probably — not it.

Cons: it isn’t all that easy to spread (maybe. I think). We’re close to a vaccine, and a treatment.

Pros: it’s nasty. It’s virulent. We’re months away from a tested treatment, and a proper supply of it. And our officials — all of them — are proving themselves to be utterly incompetent boobs.

So. Don’t lose sleep over it. But, you know, if you see cans of tuna on sale, pick up a few. Goes good with saltines, just saying.

p.s. this Enterovirus D68 is giving ebola competition. Leaving aside persistent rumors that it came across the border with this year’s children’s crusade, it’s an evil customer in is own right. Goes for the kids. Half a dozen deaths, and at least one outbreak later resulted in polio-like muscle weakness several weeks later. One to watch.

p.p.s. have a good weekend!


Comment from QuasiModo
Time: October 18, 2014, 1:50 am

If we do get lucky and millions of dead bodies don’t pile up, it will not be because of the mad skillz of the CDC…the scary lack of basic common sense with this cast of characters is chilling.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: October 18, 2014, 2:07 am

You too, House Badger! I’ll keep making beer until the malt runs out.

Comment from Catseye
Time: October 18, 2014, 4:00 am

There was a case of airborne Ebola among a group of 72 monkeys the only way they could find to kill the virus was to kill the monkeys.
As I understand it the virus mutates with each new victim so as long as the virus is infecting new victims it’s only a matter of time before it evolves to an airborne form. Throw enough dice enough times and sooner or later you’re going to roll all 6’s.
That’s why so many healthcare workers are getting the disease the protocols that keep you safe for one patient may be insufficient for the next.

Comment from Some Vegetable
Time: October 18, 2014, 1:44 pm

I don’t think Ebola will necessarily sweep across the nations of the world killing like the plague or Spanish Influenza, but I am concerned about the slow-ramp-up approach being taken to fight it may allow it to do so. The problem is that the virus mutates and given enough opportunities will overcome our defenses.

I am reminded of a history of the Vietnam war which I read. The author, a retired general, pointed out that at first, the Viet Cong were not strong or well organized. So the American response was limited. However, the Viet Cong learned, and refined their methods to survive that level of response. So, the Americans escalated slightly and the Viet Cong at first suffered, but then learned to respond. This pattern continued until by the end of the war, the military was throwing everything it had at the Viet Cong, and it wasn’t phasing them.
This is one of the reasons for the “Shock and Awe” approach in the first Gulf War. You have to hit the enemy as hard as you can -crush them completely- before they can evolve responses to your approach.

So, I am calling for a foolishly paranoid over-reaction right off the bat for Ebola. We can all be sheepish about the money and effort wasted by our over-reaction, after it has worked.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 18, 2014, 11:04 pm

Sorry about all the spam getting through lately. We’ve been *hammered* with the stuff.

Comment from Deborah HH
Time: October 19, 2014, 12:01 pm

In 2010 during a conversation with my Obama-loving sister-in-law (whom I love very much), she demanded to know why I hated Obama—because she knew I wasn’t a “racist or something.”

At the time I hadn’t formulated a Mission Statement on why I hated Obama, but I blurted out that during a crises, I didn’t think he would ever to do the right thing. That every decision he made would be the wrong decision. She just hooted at me.

Comment from Solid Muldoon
Time: October 19, 2014, 4:19 pm

@Deborah HH,
“It used to be you just had lots of uninformed voters whom you could persuade with reason and good arguments come election time. Now you have consistently misinformed voters who cannot be swayed in their opinions no matter what, ever.”

Comment from Wolfus Aurelius
Time: October 20, 2014, 3:35 pm

I actually dreamed about Obola — the pretend president, I mean, not the disease — last night. Apparently in my dream he was wrestling in a ring (yeah, I know, how likely is that; he was wearing a suit, too) and got irritated at his opponent. He then pulled a gun and shot the guy. But the catch was that it was in a strong gun-control state, and his gun wasn’t registered. So the next scene in my nighttime teleplay was the front page of the NYT, showing BHO Photoshopped in behind bars!

Literally, we can dream, can’t we?

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: October 20, 2014, 10:15 pm

I took a nap this afternoon and had a vivid dream about Ebola, the disease. I dropped a little vial of it.

Um, sorry.

Comment from Rick Astley
Time: October 22, 2014, 4:21 pm

I’d trade shattered vials dreams any day over the truly paralyzing nightmares.

How about this one:
I am addressing a large assembly in university auditorium.
My presentation consists of “Remember, the square root of minus one is 1.4142”.
Every fiber of my consciousness screams in mute horror but a voice that sounds like mine calmly repeats “One point four one four two”.
The audience stands up and leaves to implement the gem of knowledge into production.

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