Sentences to ponder

by on October 30, 2014 at 7:28 am in Current Affairs, Medicine | Permalink

Here is Jody Lanard and Peter M. Sandman on the risks of an Ebola pandemic in the developing world:

The two of us are far less worried about sparks landing in Chicago or London than in Mumbai or Karachi.

Do read the whole thing, via Andrea Castillo.

1 Nathan W October 30, 2014 at 7:50 am

Indeed, for many reasons I think Americans could easily be informed of and take action on all sensible precautions.

2 Just Another MR Commentor October 30, 2014 at 7:56 am

Open Borders could help here and allow people to leave filthy Mumbai for the USA

3 Axa October 30, 2014 at 8:02 am

Interesting but India is thousands of kilometers away. What about Ivory Coast, Senegal, Mali & Burkina Faso?

Also, there are 50K war refugees in Liberia, 10K in Guinea and 3K in Sierra Leone. Local population already hates the refugees, what can happen if ebola arrives to refugee camps?

4 chuck martel October 30, 2014 at 8:58 am

This whole affair should please the Malthusians.

“Second, and much more important, talking to the public about the risk of an Ebola pandemic might help build a bigger head of steam for action to avert that risk.

We’re not knowledgeable enough to say what that action agenda should be. Surely the quest for an Ebola vaccine is one action item. That quest is obviously moving a lot faster than it was a few months ago. But to us it still seems anemic, half-hearted, not nearly as desperate as it ought to be. ”

I’ll stop painting the garage and get to work on an Ebola vaccine right away.

“And if our leaders don’t sound the alarm, somebody else will. People will start to find out or figure out that they have bigger Ebola problems than they faced in Dallas (and now face in New York). If our leaders aren’t the ones who tell them, they will not trust our leaders to guide them through it.”

Why would we trust our “leaders” at all? Assuming that they’re talking about the elected sociopaths that are running the country. We probably need Nancy Pelosi or Chucky Schumer to tell us what to do about Ebola. This article is something you’d expect to see published in a college newpaper.

5 Careless October 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

I don’t think malthusians are pleased that it is the nature of things for life to be unpleasant.

I predicted the Bears would get blown out last week, but I’m not happy about that, either.

6 Agra Brum October 30, 2014 at 2:58 pm

It was the ‘dismal science’ for a reason – the running of certain formulas and realizing (erroneously, but it certainly made sense based on the past) that humans were doomed to this survival level existence punctuated by plagues and famines.
The West has broken out of that thanks to energy and also the pill. If India could find a way to get 2 kids for each village couple instead of 5+…(of course the charts showing the transition are well proven at this point; they need incentives not to have kids, but it does raise the dander of the anti-abortion folks…birth politics gets messy quick)

7 Ronald Brak October 30, 2014 at 9:57 pm

India has come a long way with their fertility rate now being about 2.5. Currently their population growth is 1.2% which is about half the peak back in 1978. While India’s total population will continue to rise for quite some time they’ve progressed a long way through the demographic transition. But there are still a number of places that haven’t gone that far.

8 ThomasH October 30, 2014 at 10:18 am

“Our leaders” have been mainly responsible for causing the unnecessary concern by taking unnecessary “precautions.” Erring on the side of caution is fine as a private strategy, but not when the excess caution itself is a message about the risk.

9 Keith October 30, 2014 at 11:24 am

Did you read the original post? They are talking about how Ebola might spread further around the world. Why don’t you think this will happen? And why shouldn’t we be concerned about it?

10 Ray Lopez October 30, 2014 at 10:45 am

Good article, and confirms my suspicions that health officials are downplaying Ebola so not to scare the public.

Note that sounding an alarm would make a calamity less likely due to public concern and reaction. It’s not an accident that the US and Russia stopped open-air nuclear tests around 1960, after a lot of people complained. If people did not complain, we’d still have mushroom clouds over Bikini island until probably even today.

Killer paragraph below.


Those are the four reasons we have thought of that could explain the lack of headlines about this calamitous prospect. The people out there talking about Ebola:
don’t think it’s likely enough to be worth talking about;
don’t think there’s anything to be done about it anyway;
don’t think the public can take it; or
can’t bear to keep the horrific prospect in focus.

11 T. Shaw October 30, 2014 at 11:17 am

Third World Ebola Pandemic Resolved:

US State Department To Bring Into the USA Foreign Ebola Patients.

Hope and Change!

Peace and Justice!

12 Agra Brum October 30, 2014 at 3:10 pm

This is one of the more bizarre crank conspiracy ideas out there…
In the grand sweep of plagues, this one has only killed around 7500 (est); it took some time to burn through the stages of the plague, with many of the local, rural or illiterate population refusing to believe the source and transmissions of the plague. But denial and fear has turned to acceptance (and respectful fear) – traditional burial practices are abandoned, and chlorine rinses are the order of the day. The spread begins to slow… Nigeria (most populous nation in West Africa) stamped it out quickly with only 8 deaths.
The Plague of Justinian was killing 5,000 people each day in Constantinople, and killed more than 40% of the inhabitants of the city (to say nothing of everywhere else that plague spread).
Health officials seem to be accurately describing its virulence and proper containment procedures. That is why it has been extinguished in Nigeria and there has only been one fatality in the US (of someone who caught it in Liberia).

13 chuck martel October 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

“The people out there talking about Ebola: don’t think it’s likely enough to be worth talking about”

That’s nonsense. They’re talking about Ebola but not talking about Ebola? Ebola is being talked about, mostly by people that aren’t in a position to do anything about it, except talk, which isn’t going to stop its spread. Their job must be to convince people that Ebola really is a problem for everyone, but when they’ve finished talking, then what?

14 albatross October 30, 2014 at 4:05 pm

In the US, ebola is likely to amount to a small number of unlucky dead doctors and nurses, and maybe a very occasional unlucky dead family member who gets ebola from getting vomitted on. That’s nasty, and we can probably prevent many of those deaths by being careful about whom we let come to the US from ebola-riden countries.

But it’s not likely to kill very many people here, because we’ve got the resources to protect ourselves from this kind of disease. We treat very sick people in hospitals, and our hospitals aren’t going to run out of rubber gloves or masks or other protective equipment.

15 JWatts October 30, 2014 at 6:29 pm

For context, here’s the most up to date graph on Ebola cases/fatalities I could find:

Also, WHO has stated that the available numbers are hard numbers and will necessarily under-estimate the actual number of cases.

16 Younis October 31, 2014 at 4:47 pm

There is no Ebola in Karachi. No MERS either. They said that Hajj pilgrims would bring MERS back with them and it would spread throughout the Muslim world. Didn’t happen.

The author of this article keeps asking why Americans don’t care. The answer is obvious. No one cares about black people dying in Africa. Out of sight out of mind. This is also why there is no great alarm over it in Pakistan. I’ve seen just one “letter to the editor” asking for more screening at airports. The biggest worry here is over polio. It hasn’t been eradicated yet here and we are responsible for 85% of all global cases.

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