Don’t Cough on Me

Truly work is the curse of the blogging class. I barely have time to scan the headlines, never mind the ProJo or NYT today. It’s my weekend on and going to be a busy Sunday.

Flu is in the headlines. Mexico City is wearing masks. The possibility of an outbreak in the US that could close down schools and public gatherings was a big subject of speculation a few years ago. The passing of many flu seasons without a really bad one has calmed people down. This new outbreak is a warning–don’t think it can’t happen here.

Laurie Garrett wrote a book called, ‘Betrayal of Trust–The Collapse of Global Public Health’. It’s very readable, although the chapter on the US was so depressing I had to put it down.

We have had a national public health system in place and dismantled it over and over again when complacency set in. If you are old enough to remember the Zambarano TB sanitarium, or lining up for the polio shot then you saw it in action.

We don’t even have a surgeon general now. The President should make that a priority.

My job requires me to deal with people, especially sick people. It’s not as risky as being an elementary school teacher, and I see fewer people than a checkout clerk. I am constantly washing my hands. You all do that too, and if you like disaster movies, think about a real public health emergency in our patchwork, profit-driven, health care ‘system’.

PS–with a heads up from Wonkette, Governor Rick Perry of Texas, the guy who was mulling over whether to secede from the union because Texans don’t need no stinkin’ federal government, has asked the federal government for flu assistance.