Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bienvenido al mundo real, Mexico

The problem with the real world is that proof is impossible.  The swine flu may still get us in a big way in the fall, but for now it looks like it's under control, with almost no damage.  Compared to seasonal flu it was essentially completely harmless.

But we don't know why.  Maybe it is just a toothless virus.  Maybe Mexico just spent 20 billion dollars and saved the planet from total disaster.  We'll never know.  What we do know is that Mexico spent 20 billion dollars and the flu did not spread.  If it's a random correlation the 20 billion was wasted.  If it was causal, then Mexico just took a bullet for the human race, and that's not over-stating the case.

Our response needs to be clear, and President Obama needs to say this the next time he's at a podium:

"The recent swine flu outbreak did not kill 50 million human beings.  It is entirely possible that without Mexico having gone to tremendous expenditure and inconvenience the swine flu might have done just that.  The world owes Mexico a debt of gratitude for that sacrifice, and we will repay them.  We will not repay them in dollars or pesos, we will repay them by not interpreting this episode as an over-reaction, but as an appropriate reaction to a potential threat.  We will repay them by doing the same thing the next time the outbreak is within our borders.  I call on all nations to pledge similar action."

It sends the right message to Mexico, to American citizens, to the world, to WHO, to the CDC and it sets the table for continuing to do the right thing.  To not learn this lesson is to be Jenny McCarthy who is calling for us not to vaccinate our children because we've forgotten what a nightmare smallpox is.

1 comment:

Josh said...

I completely agree. I know that's boring, but there you have it.