I too have swine flu: Perspective on virus politics

Written by Julen Madariaga on November 18th, 2009

Do not miss this story by A. Galbraith of the China Economic Review. In the long debate of China’s reaction to virus, this is the most reasonable opinion I’ve seen in a long time, and also the best informed.

The story reminds me of what my friend, a doctor back in Spain, told me when I went home last Summer: “We are all going to catch it in the hospital, and chances are you’ll catch it too. Get done with it as soon as possible and you’ll be fine for the season”. That pretty much summarized the feeling in her hospital.

These last months, the H1N1 and the swine flu have been used as biological weapons of debate, often to prove the superiority of some political systems over others. The truth is that the Chinese approach was in principle no better or worse than the Western one, and what it lacked in flexibility, it had in effectiveness—after all, the virus could have evolved into something more nasty.

But the real problem is not that. What we should be asking our politicians—and that includes all the countries—is that they get together and agree on a common strategy against virus. Because some day the Big Plague is bound to come, and when this happens humanity had better learned to face it united.

So from here, I prescribe for all the politicians a prophylactic shot of common sense, and I wish a speedy recovery to Andrew.

(h/t to ESWN)

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Comments so far ↓

  1. Nov

    I got the swine flu at around early July here in the states at least I think I do because I got a relatively low grade fever that won’t go away, and when I went to the doctor the antibiotics didn’t help. When I asked about the h1n1 he didn’t even say anything about this. What’s worse, my 2 kids got similiar symptoms in the next 2 weeks. At least this guy got tamiflu and some advice to stay away from other people for the next few days. The US mostly ignored this problem until this h1n1 came back with a vengeance this fall. Besides, by now, many people who are most vulnerable got the vaccines in China now.

    [Reply to this comment]

  2. Nov
    Andrew Galbraith

    Thanks, Uln - I’m feeling much better, so save all your wishes (good and otherwise) for the politicians.

    [Reply to this comment]

  3. Nov

    Andrew, I am glad to hear that. If I believe what my friend told me, you are actually the lucky one who is already past the mess. Anyway, when you are completely rid of all the virus let’s see if we can catch up in Shanghai!

    [Reply to this comment]

  4. Dec

    Actually, I’m going to say that “standing together” is actually the last thing we want to do when confronted by a plague-like disease, and not just in the simple sense of not congregating in public places. From an evolutionary standpoint, diseases are best fought by immune systems which contain the greatest variety, so if a new plague emerges and the whole globe fights it in the same way, we might all go down together . . . .

    [Reply to this comment]

  5. Dec

    Mmh. I didn’t think of it that way.

    I am based on the assumption that coordinated response is always better to face a disaster, in whatever situation, as long as it follows the advice of the best experts in the field.

    I think the proper response to your comment is that, in that case, the medical experts of the World united would identify the need to present asynchronous responses to the virus, and would therefore recommend each country to react in the optimal way and with the optimal timing to obtain the best overall results…

    So I am not saying we have to put all the eggs in one basket, rather we have to put all the doctors in one meeting room and ask them where to place our eggs!! :)

    [Reply to this comment]

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