Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Are You An Easy-To-Scare-&-Manipulate Ebola-Bedwetter?

UPDATE IX:  "Watching the excellent documentary “Ebola in America: Epidemic of Fear” is to relive the confusion and controversies of the summer of 2014: the initial public health mistakes, the divided and unclear responsibilities, the hysterical coverage on cable TV. But it is the political role played by Republicans and conservatives that stands out, and not in a good way."

Read  the Washington Post, The Trump train is fueled by conspiracy

Read also An Example of The Fear, Anger, Hatred Industry.

UPDATE VIII:  Read also the Washington Post, Why your bathtub is actually far scarier than Ebola.

UPDATE VII:  In the past two years, has ebola caused 6,000 emergency rooms visits, 750 hospitalizations (half required intensive care), and two confirmed deaths?

No, but since their introduction in 2012 through the end of 2013 "colorful, single-load" laundry detergent pods have.

Read The New York Times, Detergent Pods Pose Risk to Children, Study Finds.

UPDATE VI:  Your chances of dying from ebola:  1 in 309,629,415 yearly, 1 in 3,934,300 in your lifetime.

Your chances of dying from  your pajamas catching fire:  1 in 77,407,353 yearly, 1 in 983,575 in your lifetime.

Read the Washington Post, How likely is it that you will die from . . . ?   

UPDATE V:  "Ebola has so far killed one person on U.S. soil.

Over 10,000 children a year are killed or wounded by guns on the same soil."

Read the Daily Mail, A math question for the US media: What’s going to kill more American kids this year? Ebola or guns? 

UPDATE IV:  It’s been 21 days and none of the people in closest contact with Thomas Eric Duncan in the days before he was hospitalized has gotten sick. That includes his fiancée Louise Troh and her children, who were in a small Dallas apartment with an increasingly ill Duncan for days, and forcibly kept inside for days afterward.

No one else has carried Ebola into the country yet, and since Wednesday, no more nurses or other health care workers who took care of Duncan have been infected.

What has been seen is what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other experts predicted would happen — that someone might carry Ebola into the United States, and that they might even infect a few other people. What CDC has always promised is that it would stop there.

Read NBC News, Ebola in America: Has the Fever Broken?

Read also, CNN, Ebola hysteria: An epic, epidemic overreaction, which notes that"[w]hile the threat of Ebola is very real in Africa, the paranoia it's generated in the United States is unreal."

UPDATE III:  Ebola "isn’t, as reported by Forbes and the Daily Mail, a low-tech weapon of bioterror for ISIS. It isn’t the final refuge of a lone wolf on a suicide mission, in the words of Fox News. It isn’t a U.S.-built race-targeting bioweapon, as the leader of the Nation of Islam declared. . .

[T]his outbreak isn’t a recipe for a bioweapon. Not unless you want to be the most incompetent bioterrorist in history."

Read Slate, Ebola Is Not a Weapon

UPDATE II: "So far, none of the 48 Dallas residents who had contact with Duncan while he was symptomatic have shown signs of Ebola, Texas officials said on Tuesday. . .

[H]ealth officials have persistently argued that the United States is not facing an Ebola epidemic. The CDC, for example, continues to stress that most Americans aren’t at risk for Ebola."

Read Forbes, Ebola Came To America Last Week. Since Then: 5,000 False Alarms. Zero New Ebola Cases.

UPDATE:  According to the CDC, in 2010 more than 53,000 people died in the United States from this infection.

Name the infection.  (Hint, it is not ebola.)

Read PBS, These six diseases should worry you more than Ebola

"The reproduction number, or "R nought," is a mathematical term that tells you how contagious an infectious disease is. Specifically, it's the number of people who catch the disease from one sick person, on average, in an outbreak.*

Take, for example, measles. The virus is one of the most contagious diseases known to man. It's R0 sits around 18. That means each person with the measles spreads it to 18 people, on average, when nobody is vaccinated. (When everyone is vaccinated, the R0 drops to essentially zero for measles).

At the other end of the spectrum are viruses like HIV and hepatitis C. Their R0s tend to fall somewhere between 2 and 4. They're still big problems, but they spread much more slowly than the measles.

And that brings us back to Ebola. Despite its nasty reputation, the virus's R0 really isn't that impressive. It typically sits around 1.5 to 2.0."

Read NPR, No, Seriously, How Contagious Is Ebola?

Read also USA Today, Even germaphobes don't need to fear Ebola, which notes:

"Unlike the common cold or viruses that cause food poisoning, Ebola does not spread through casual contact.

Ebola spreads through direct contact with bodily fluids, primarily blood. It can only spread after someone develops symptoms, such as a fever. So if you're exposed to Ebola, the odds are that you are going to know it.

So what has allowed Ebola to ravage West Africa?

Extreme poverty, a broken public health system and the trauma of countries newly emerged from years of brutal warfare.

These conditions aren't present in the USA. They aren't even present in much of Nigeria, where the Ebola epidemic appears to be over. Nigeria, which is considerably more developed than many of its neighbors, was prepared for the possibility of Ebola and took quick action to limit its spread."

Monday, May 2, 2016

The 2016 Election: "Wrath of the Conned"

"Both parties make promises to their bases. But while the Democratic establishment more or less tries to make good on those promises, the Republican establishment has essentially been playing bait-and-switch for decades. And voters finally rebelled against the con.

First, about the Democrats: Their party defines itself as the protector of the poor and the middle class, and especially of nonwhite voters. Does it fall short of fulfilling this mission much of the time? Are its leaders sometimes too close to big-money donors? Of course. Still, if you look at the record of the Obama years, you see real action on behalf of the party’s goals. . .

Maybe you think Democrats could and should have done more, but what the party establishment says and what it does are at least roughly aligned.

Things are very different among Republicans. Their party has historically won elections by appealing to racial enmity and cultural anxiety, but its actual policy agenda is dedicated to serving the interests of the 1 percent, above all through tax cuts for the rich — which even Republican voters don’t support, while they truly loathe elite ideas like privatizing Social Security and Medicare.

What Donald Trump has been doing is telling the base that it can order à la carte. He has, in effect, been telling aggrieved white men that they can feed their anger without being forced to swallow supply-side economics, too. Yes, his actual policy proposals still involve huge tax cuts for the rich, but his supporters don’t know that — and it’s possible that he doesn’t, either. Details aren’t his thing.

Establishment Republicans have tried to counter his appeal by shouting, with growing hysteria, that he isn’t a true conservative. And they’re right, at least as they define conservatism. But their own voters don’t care.

If there’s a puzzle here, it’s why this didn’t happen sooner. One possible explanation is the decadence of the G.O.P. establishment, which has become ingrown and lost touch. Apparatchiks who have spent their whole careers inside the bubble of right-wing think tanks and partisan media may suffer from the delusion that their ideology is actually popular with real people. And this has left them hapless in the face of a Trumpian challenge.

Probably more important, however, is the collision between demography and Obama derangement. . .

The point, in any case, is that the divergent nomination outcomes of 2016 aren’t an accident. The Democratic establishment has won because it has, however imperfectly, tried to serve its supporters. The Republican establishment has been routed because it has been playing a con game on its supporters all along, and they’ve finally had enough.

And yes, Mr. Trump is playing a con game of his own, and they’ll eventually figure that out, too. But it won’t happen right away, and in any case it won’t help the party establishment. Sad!:

Read The New York Times, Wrath of the Conned.