Tag Archives: pandemic

Coming Soon: The Avian Flu

From the government that gave us duct tape and filter masks comes another safety device: yardsticks.

Avian flu, more technically known as H5N1, is coming. This virus, first encountered in Vietnam and Thailand in 2004, is spreading across the globe and headed for the Americas. We’ve been told that if this virus mutates from one which affects birds to one which affects humans, it will create a world-wide pandemic.

pandemic: An epidemic over a wide geographical area
and affecting a large portion of the population

Scientists tell us that since the deadly virus for all intents and purposes doesn’t exist (despite the deaths of 113 humans), they cannot develop a vaccine to protect us from it. Emergency managers, the people who brought us the response to Hurricane Katrina, tell us that even if scientists had a vaccine, there isn’t enough manufacturing capacity in the United States to make enough vaccine to protect this country’s citizens, let alone the rest of the world’s population which might also need it.

All of which brings us to a news item I heard this morning on cable news. The United States government has recommended to employers that should avian flu indeed reach our shores that they should keep workers at least three feet apart during their workday to reduce the possibility of transmission from human to human.

I’m headed out, right now, to Ace Hardware to buy me a yardstick!

I hesitate to point out that, unlike those working in Washington, DC, many of us don’t work in offices. Also, since we don’t really know anything about the virus, there is a possibility that it could be transmitted by touch.

I think I’ll pick up some gloves and toilet shields, too.
And, if any dates come over, bring your own toothbrush!

Perhaps the virus could possibly travel airborne beyond three feet.
(Filter masks, again!)

All of this to avoid, once again, telling the American people the truth. In this instance, that translates to, “sorry, citizens. We really don’t know what to do.”

Well, at least in these times where all things retro are embraced, it will bring back a time-honored line from the 70’s…

Hey, man! You’re invading my space!!

 

Ciao for now!
Mike

How To Make An American Quilt

My apologies to those who might think this is about the new movie starring Wynona Ryder and others. I admit it. I did it deliberately to draw you in.

Two weeks ago, outside the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, I was fortunate to view once again the AIDS Memorial Quilt. I first saw it in April, 1993 when I attended the March On Washington. It was then and now a powerful experience.

The Quilt is massive. I was told in Pasadena that it is 35,000 panels large. And, it grows at the rate of 5,000 panels a year. If you get the opportunity to see each panel, it can represent one or more persons who have died of AIDS and its complications. In my two experiences with the Quilt, I’ve become overwhelmed by its awesome size and by what that size represents. That’s thousands upon thousands of Americans who have died of this painful scourge. Thousands and thousands of Americans who have been seemingly ignored by their own government.

The Quilt holds a special place in my heart. My sister, a practicing heterosexual, died of AIDS in 1991. She was 41. In fact, I didn’t realize until this moment that in terms of years, I have outlived my sister. Marcia was a beautiful woman who had five children. Two of those children, my youngest nephews, have NO parents. Their father had also contracted AIDS and died years before. Marcia was much on my mind when I first saw the Quilt in Washington, D.C. that spring day. I looked at the panels, thought of my sister, and looked at those alabaster buildings which seem to contain an uncaring, unfeeling bureaucracy uninterested in the plight of millions of Americans.

Some of my friends from The Fireplace and I are getting together next October in Washington D.C. We want very much to put faces and human contact on the correspondence of people we’ve only met on cyberspace and on the telephone. We also want to view the entire AIDS Memorial Quilt on the Mall. It will be a massive effort, but I — for one — feel that it will be necessary to demonstrate to the American government and the people it represents the awesome responsibility it faces every day until this plague is wiped out. I can’t think of a better time, one month before the National elections, of making this pilgrimage.

I wish you will join us there.

Don’t settle for misinformation. I hope you’ll check out some of the resources below the line for information about AIDS and HIV. Thanks!

Ciao for now!
Mike

Resources

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