walkitout (walkitout) wrote,
walkitout
walkitout

Where's the Editor: Bill Gates worries about the Flu at Vox edition

Here is the article I clicked on:

http://www.vox.com/2015/5/27/8660249/gates-flu-pandemic

Because, sure, we'll probably get a real bad flu at some point. Here is the setup for why we should worry about it:

"But lately, Gates has been obsessing over a dark question: what's likeliest to kill more than 10 million human beings in the next 20 years? He ticks off the disaster movie stuff — "big volcanic explosion, gigantic earthquake, asteroid" — but says the more he learns about them, the more he realizes the probability is "very low.""

10 million people in the next 20 years? EASY PEASEY! We already kill OVER 1 million people a year with cars. If we _ONLY_ killed 10 million people with cars in the next 20 years it would be the biggest public health success for a really long time. HUGE.

Nope. He's worried about the flu.

mutter bad words mutter Where's the Editor

Should we worry about a bad round of the flu? Probably! But because it's going to kill off a huge number of people, like, it should top our list? Absolutely not.

CARS CARS CARS

They are dangerous. We should improve this situation.

*sigh*

I'm okay with worrying about the flu. But don't try to freak me out with 10 million people in 20 years and then point at the flu. It will result in me being unable to read further.

Don't believe me? Here:

http://www.who.int/gho/road_safety/mortality/traffic_deaths_number/en/

"Approximately 1.24 million deaths occurred on the world’s roads in 2010"

ETAYA: Are you thinking, but cars are minor compared to other stuff. You win!

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs310/en/index2.html

Probably should worry about cardiovascular stuff first, especially smoking.

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/

6 million. PER YEAR.

Honestly. Don't ask me to worry about the flu. I don't worry about meteors, either.

ETA still more: ALSO, people worried about the flu use the 1918 event as their metric for, it was that bad once, it could happen again. WELL IT WON'T IF WE REMEMBER NOT TO ABUSE ASPIRIN.

http://cid.oxfordjournals.org/content/49/9/1405.full

Gah.

ETA: And this is the end of it. Gates isn't pushing a new, antigen based approach to flu vaccination or anything like that. Nope. It's just straight up, OUR MODEL SAYS TRAVEL WILL KILL PEOPLE. Right, because we didn't all read Laurie Garrett like 20 years ago. I said this before and I'll say it again. All this stuff about needing more labs is the crap people have been saying they need for a pandemic for over 100 years now. It was said over and over and over again during the 1918 flu. Didn't do a damn bit of good. We got over it when we got over it (and using less aspirin helped reduce deaths in subsequent events, and ending aspirin use in children made a huge difference decades later). Same thing with Ebola. Will there be a pandemic? Sure! And the horrible, huge number of deaths will still pale in comparison to our "run rate" of deaths from heart attacks, smoking, cars, etc. We're better off focusing on those. Policies that reduce those deaths will reduce deaths year in and year out, not just in an unfortunate year with a pandemic.
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