With everything that is going on in the world today – and by that I mean, of course, the Ebola – the story of the THIRTEEN YEAR OLD GIRL WHO IS THE MOTHER THE BABY ABANDONED IN A DUMPSTER just keeps pulling at me. There are lots and lots of questions to be asked here, but let’s start with this: how do we as a society discourage 13 year olds from having sex in the first place? It’s hard to argue that this particular 13 year old is the one exception in all the world and has exceptional maturity and can handle all of the issues that go with being sexually active, including pregnancy. Where is the father of the child Is he also, underage? After the authorities determined that the girl was the mother, they turned her over to Child Protective Services. Okay, there’s a irony there, but it is also quite telling, isn’t it? Who was protecting this girl? And why aren’t they stepping up to “protect her” now? It’s really sad. As a society, what would we accomplish by charging her with anything other than punitive punishments? Do we honestly think that it would discourage other girls from saying “yes” when they should say “no?”
After all the angst yesterday about Amazon Book ratings, I settled in to try and read about the 1918 influenza pandemic, but of course, Ben wanted to play his bowling game, so I didn’t get very far with it. There are some things that I read last night, however, that are causing me to look at the Ebola panic with more critic. First off, the numbers don’t add up. I’m certainly no exert with statistical math – other than ERA’s and RBI’s, of course, but something seems amiss here.
We are told that the expectation is that each new case of the Ebola will infect two additional persons (CDC). Assuming that the new infections have to occur within the 21 day infectious period, and conservatively presuming that each new infection occurs at 21 days it seems to me that the rate of spread is lower than it should be. The outbreak was reported in mid-August, but that clearly cannot be when it actually began to have 4000 deaths and 8000 current cases. Again, if that 8000 number is correct, we should have an additional 16,000 cases within 21 days, bringing the total to 28,000 cases (including the 4000 already deceased). Assuming a 50% kill rate, we’ll be left with around 12,000 cases out of a ToTaL population of 235 Million or an active infection rate of 0.0119%.
Since the term “outbreak” is used to describe an occurrence of a disease that is “greater than expected,” and since Ebola tends to burn itself out quickly and recede in “expectations,” this certainly qualifies as an “outbreak,” but is it worthy of TWO-THIRDS OF AMERICANS WORRYING ABOUT AN EPIDEMIC of the Ebola in The United States? Keep in mind that 23rds of American also cannot name the three branches of government or know who is in charge of the Senate. Is there a correlation there?
The problem is that we are being fed information about the disease which is then countered immediately by those who have something to gain from your panic. Whether that something is ratings (“No, Doctor, tell me the worst case possibilities!”) or financial gain, there is something here that is not up to and touching, as we used to say. Certainly the Ebola is a horrifying disease, but so is brain cancer – as we have so recently learned. According to the American Brain Tumor Association, for children and adults under 30, Brain tumors are one of the leading causes of death. The ABTS also estimates that there will be more than 60,000 new cases in 2014 of malignant brain tumors. Nobody is calling that an “epidemic” or telling people to panic.
Like most things, I have come to believe that what is needed here is two things: information and patience. We simply do not know now if the outbreak in Africa is growing or receding. It could be either. The numbers would suggest that if it is growing, it is in the very early stages. If not, and the timing suggests that direction, then it could be burning itself out, as every outbreak of the Ebola has done in the past. We simply don’t have sufficient data right now.
We need to relax and have patience to let those who work professionally in infectious diseases to have the time to make those determinations. But my guess is that there is little excitement, ratings or money in that course of action.
Oddly enough, Mayor Silva (Stockton) was pretty proud of his personal actions that had “reduced” violent crimes in Stockton. But yesterday, he took to Facebook to CRITICIZE THE CITY COUNCIL FOR BEING SOFT ON CRIME and trying to cast them as the reason that things aren’t aren’t getting better.
By the by, Kim Jong-un IS BACK!