No Cure for Dumb Fear

First of all – its just the flu. It’s not The Plague.

As my wife wrote on her facebook:

Everyone, please-take a deep breath. The REGULAR flu kills 35,000 people a year, every year. Maybe 80 people, in the country, have the swine flu. 80, out of how many million? It’s all over the news because that makes people panic, and panic induces more news-watching. Wash your hands, get on with your life. Thank you.

And the numbers you’ve heard about the current flu – wrong.

From The Age (in Australia)

Vivienne Allan, from WHO’s patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths – all in Mexico – and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

“Unfortunately that (150-plus deaths) is incorrect information and it does happen, but that’s not information that’s come from the World Health Organisation,” Ms Allan told ABC [Australian Broadcasting Company] Radio on Wednesday morning.

Similar reporting has appeared in other news sources, mostly from Oz or New Zealand. Curious to see if the US media picks this up or what.

If they shut down my kids school over a runny nose, I’m gonna be pissed. (AZ Superintendent of Education Tom Horne has promised to do just that.)

Meanwhile, I’ve been looking into Aspergers – a subject near to my brain.

There’s two types of advocacy groups for people on the Autism spectrum:

* Normal adults whose children or grandchildren suffer from autism. Autism Speaks heads this movement. They raise money in hopes of a “cure”.

* Adults with Aspergers who do not feel they suffer from the condition enough to warrant a cure. GRASP leads this movement, though there are many others.

These groups do not always get along, and you can follow along on Wrong Planet – a chat board for those with Aspergers.

Here’s a brief glossary if you wanna troll Wrong Planet:

Aspey – someone with Aspergers.

NT – Neuro-Typical = normal people

Curebys (or Curebies) = those who believe Autism as a condition can and/or should be cured.

Yeah, well, there’s a lot of whining – like any other single interest group that feels oppressed.

One fact you need to take away from all this nonsense: No one can agree on what Autism even is at this point, much less what causes it, or how it could be “cured”. Those who say otherwise are trying to raise money.

Why yes – this is all for an article I’m writing (technically an essay). Thanks for asking…

Now you know.

One thought on “No Cure for Dumb Fear

  1. There’s an adjustment going on, I believe, by our society learning to cope with the speed and quantity of information available. It’s not always easy to put the data in perspective. You definitely should get your info from the WHO ( or the CDC ( But also consider somewhere between 20 and 100 million people died in the 1918 outbreak. While there were some extenuating circumstances then (WWI, inability to communicate quickly), people didn’t travel quite as much or as easily. Still the experts seem to believe this is caught early enough to prevent too much of an outbreak.

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