[ExI] We're not ready

John Clark johnkclark at gmail.com
Wed Feb 26 13:40:08 UTC 2020

Only 1.9% of the people who got the 1918 flu died of it,  but so many got
sick it ended up killing 675,000 people in the USA alone and 35 million
worldwide. Because it's so new the death rate for the Corvid 19 virus is
more uncertain but it's estimated to be between 2% and 6%, and it shows a
disturbingly long incubation period during which a person is infectious but
displays no obvious symptoms of being ill; it can be diagnosed with DNA
detection kits but those are in extremely short supply. Administering large
amounts of Corvid-19 antibodies would almost certainly cut the death rate
considerably but you'd need massive amounts of it and, like DNA detection
kits, we no longer have the infrastructure to rapidly mass produce it.

Obama created a pandemic czar to deal with just this sort of thing and to
coordinate the activities of the various federal agencies, but in the
spring of 2018 the pandemic czar position was eliminated, the entire chain
of command was fired, and the disease fighting budgets of the Centers for
Disease Control, the National Safety Council, the Department of Homeland
Security, and Health and Human Services was cut by 15 billion dollars. The
infrastructure can be rebuilt but that takes not just money but also time,
and that is time we may not have. In 2017 Bill Gates told national security
advisor H.R. McMaster that cutting the disease fighting budgets of federal
agencies would "*significantly increase the probability of a large and
lethal modern-day pandemic occurring in our lifetimes*". Maybe Corvid-19
will just peter out but I wouldn't count on it, it's looking increasingly
likely that Mr. Gates was right. We're not ready.

John K Clark
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