Keane observations about life, politics and sports.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breaking Silliness: President Declares H1N1 (Swine Flu) to be a National Emergency

This morning, President Obama declared the H1N1 (or Swine Flu) outbreak a national emergency. A week ago when I couldn't field a full baseball team due to the flu it was an emergency. Seasons over and now he declares an emergency? That's a day late and two players short.
The White House today said Obama signed a proclamation that would allow medical officials to bypass certain federal requirements. Officials described the move as similar to a declaration ahead of a hurricane making landfall.
Other than calling this silly, I'm not going to weigh in too much on this until I know what actions this proclamation allows. Obviously, coming from the administration that operates with a "never let a good crisis go to waste" mentality one needs to be concerned about how they may exploit this "national emergency" for political gain. This especially bears watching considering the fact that the politicians are currently debating the idea of completely overhauling our health care system.

Go wash your hands!

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Blogger bob said...

It's an emergency if your the one holding a bucket and sitting on the crapper, otherwise it's only the flu.

October 24, 2009 at 5:59 PM

Blogger Madrigal Maniac said...

With all due respect, I suggest you educate yourself before making dangerous statements regarding H1N1.

As someone who works for a health department and has received training on pandemic flu I can tell you that this could potentially be a nightmare.

First of all. It's not the swine flu. It's a combination of the swine virus, the bird virus, and the human influenza virus.

Second, health officials have known for some time we were due for a pandemic. This isn't something the Obama administration cooked up. Training for the next pandemic began over 5 years ago under the Bush administration, long before anyone knew who the next president would be. Obama has no power to declare a pandemic.

Third, whenever a president, governor, or mayor declares a health care emergency certain procedures are put into effect. For instance, in Columbus, when Mayor Coleman declared an emergency, my job duties changed. While I'm an addiction counselor, I will now help run the vaccination clinics for the health department. As a public employee, I can't say no.

Fourth, the reason a new virus like H1N1 is so dangerous is because unlike the seasonal flu, no one has built up an immunity to it.

Fifth, pandemics come in waves. We had the first in the spring and the second starting now in the fall. The second wave is usually more dangerous than the first.

Lastly, the last pandemic, the Spanish flu of 1918-1919 killed fifty million people worldwide including at least 500,000 in the U.S.

Predictions for H1N1 are 100,000 deaths.

Many on the right are tying to portray this as some sort of hoax. If this turns out to be nothing they will crow that they were right. I actually hope they get a chance to do that.

But if a pandemic does hit, those on the right who made light of this will become irrelevant in politics.

October 24, 2009 at 6:19 PM

Blogger LargeBill said...


Potential is a funny word. Sparky Anderson every few years proclaimed that this player or that player was the next Mickey Mantle or Willie Mays. You are quite correct that this could develop into a pandemic. History suggests that we suffer a flu pandemic of some sort every couple decades. The Spanish flu killed between 500,000 and a million people. Since then we have had a couple weaker pandemics. My comments were not dangerous. In fact I finished with an admonishment for people to wash their hands. Many attribute the more recent pandemics to better hygiene practices. That and people staying home when infectious are all individual can do to avoid contracting or spreading this or any other disease.

As to your various other points the only one I take issue with is the assertion that no one has built up an immunity to the new strain. Actually, one theory is the reason the elderly are not catching this bug at a higher rate is because they have an immunity by having survived contact with a prior strain.

No one on the right (that I'm aware of) is calling H1N1 a hoax. If we avoid a pandemic of millions dying it will be because of people heeding the warnings and taking prudent precautions as I stated above.

Lastly, I rather doubt that any of my readers (all five or sixof them) actually are coming here for medical advice. If so, then they have other issues.

October 24, 2009 at 7:39 PM

Blogger Madrigal Maniac said...

Well, I wasn't aware of the size of your readership, but I suspect it's more than you think.

I have seen many on the right who have accused the government of scare tactics. The definition of a hoax is something intended to deceive or defraud. If your are saying that it's a scare tactic and it's nothing to be worried about, then you are saying it's a hoax.

You are correct that few elderly people have gotten H1N1 because they have been around and have a good immune system to the flu. But what I said was that no one has built an immunity to the H1N1 and in fact they have not. They built an immunity system to other strains of the flu which has helped them in this case.

Still, I'm glad that apparently you do take this threat seriously. My main beef was that you called Obama's proclamation of a national emergency silly when it is actually mandated for safe measures to be put in place.

I enjoy the civilized debate and am going to put you on my conservative bloggroll. Maybe it will help your readership :-)

October 24, 2009 at 7:57 PM

Blogger Madrigal Maniac said...

Sorry, your actually already on my conservative blogroll.

October 24, 2009 at 8:00 PM

Blogger bob said...

Madrigal, I wonder if people talking up the H1N1 doesn't lead to more problems than good. As much as it's been hyped you have emergency rooms overflowing with flu symptoms spreading their germs. We were at the emergency room a couple of weeks ago and observed this over crowding.

The best advice is to stay home and drink fluids. As with most viruses antibiotics are ineffective. If you remain hydrated you will over come with rest. So we need to learn the signs of dehydration.

October 25, 2009 at 2:59 AM

Blogger Madrigal Maniac said...

Actually Bob, I would take issue with the word hyped. All public health officials have done is educate the public on what a pandemic is, what H1N1 is, and how to protect yourself.

I believe the more education the public has, the less fear they will have because they can make informed decisions.

It is true that if your symptoms are not severe, you should stay home. But if they are severe or if you are one of the at risk groups, you should probably seek medical attention.

It does not surprise me the ER's are busy. It's not only flu season, but we are in the middle of a pandemic.

October 25, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Blogger Gary said...

Run in circles, scream and shout!
What is being done differently today than yesterday Madrigal?
It's just a red obamacare herring.

October 25, 2009 at 6:47 PM

Blogger bob said...

Maybe public health officials aren't hyping H1N1 but the news media certainly is showing no restraint. The CDC said there could be between 30k and 100k deaths from H1N1. The press TV and written led with 100,000 deaths possible. Well all kinds of things are possible but when the emphsis is on words like 100,000 and pandemic your hyping what is only one possible outcome.

October 26, 2009 at 1:40 AM

Blogger Madrigal Maniac said...

Bob, I would not disagree. The MSM loves to hype almost any type of crisis. But the media is the best way for public health officials to get the really important issues to the public. Issues, like how to protect yourself and what to do if you get sick.

Gary if your talking about H1N1, are you serious?

Why don't you tell the mother of this child that "it's just a red obamacare herring."

"The Columbus Dispatch is reporting that a 14 year old Columbus boy has died of the H1N1 virus. He died last night at Nationwide Children’s Hospital."

October 26, 2009 at 4:22 PM


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