Tuesday, October 7, 2014

More thoughts on Ebola, and epidemics in particular...

It's not necessarily Ebola that might might build the bottom line of victims in a potential American Ebola outbreak.

Ol' Remus, posting at the Woodpile Report, sees us as playing with fire in our thus-far Pollyanna response to a potential epidemic :
A realistic mortality estimate has to include secondary effects, which includes a drastic reduction in ordinary medical services, disrupted transportation of food, fuel and other necessities, much diminished commercial activity, breakdown of civil order and the like. If we discount "perfect storm" doomer scenarios and stay within the likely, a mortality of 25% in the US is a reasonable estimate, with a burnout time of about three years. That's about 77 million. Our population is unevenly distributed and the country is large, look for it to advance in waves like the pandemic of 1918-1919. Again, mortality means deaths from Ebola and secondary effects.
And there's this:
Our institutional defenses against epidemics assume 1950s-style civic support. Those days are gone. Even so, it'll work for a while, not perfectly, but well enough. For a while. Ebola will go exponential when it gets into our Liberia-like urban areas and separatist enclaves. Necessary but inconvenient countermeasures will be widely evaded, denounced as genocide in disguise. Those who demand drastic action in defense of the nation will be slandered as paleo-rednecks.
Multiculturalism, the politically expedient formula that lets politicians thrive by playing societal groups against each other, will emerge for what it is - the new normal of groups demanding preferential treatment. And demanded preferential treatment may run counter to the best interests of everyone.

With general concepts of a common good discarded, the new tribalism in America may be nearly as responsible for what may unfold as any bitter disease itself.

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