Earlier this month, that five-day influenza xark binge paid off with a front-page story that connected the dots between several wire stories that had come across that afternoon. Did it have any effect on my community? None that I can see.
For years, newspapers and TV stations have been scaring the tee-total shit out people about wimpy or absurdly unlikely diseases. West Nile, SARS, smallpox and anthrax, all came and went without the sky falling. And now we say, "Hey, wait a minute, forget all that -- look over here at this BIRD flu!" Of course nobody cares, even though Type A H5N1 Z+ influenza is the Mac-Daddy of global disease threats.
The news keeps getting worse. But will H5N1 pick up that final mutation and turn pandemic? Who knows?
But I can say this: Public health officials are scared right now, as scared as I've ever seen them. We are literally one antigen-governing gene mutation away from a three-year global health crisis that could kill hundreds of millions of people, launch quarantines, threaten civil liberties, shut down schools and scramble every basic economic assumption we have about daily life.
Time to configure your H5N1 Google News Alert and start paying attention.