Fight World Hunger

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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

How do you stop a pandemic?

Its nothing new, really. If you look at the mid 90s they have already made movies such as 12 Monkeys with Bruce Willis and Brad Pitt about the wipeout of the global population by a virulent strain. The reaction is similar. People just couldn't care less. No matter how we are warned, we still maintain a 'well, if I was to worry about it that much then nobody has to work, is that it? Who is going to run the real world?' Here's news, you can't run the real world if you're dead.

The problem with people is just that, we assume risks because we no longer regard it as a risk. We prioritize living our life by going to work, doing our job, being responsible because the risk versus reward does not seem significant. To illustrate this point more clearly, it is simply like gambling. If you head to a casino, and you start gambling, the risk is there, right? You might win, you might lose. Now, if you lose, that is fine, because sooner or later you will reach your threshold and you quit because you have bet the maximum amount that you have allocated when you walk in. However, what if you started winning? Not big amounts, but you started winning hands, right? Right at that moment your mentality changes and then the risks start to become smaller. You think to yourself, 'I can win this,' until you reach that point where you will believe that ,'There is no risk.' But think for one second, the risk is still there, your odds are still the same, how your perceive your risk has just changed, thats all.

That is the mentality that we have. We apply this to every aspect of our lives. If nothing happens to us, we assume it is safe. We started having a ruling here recently about using our rear safety belts which I feel was a good idea. They made rear safety belts for a reason anyway, but the perceived mentality is that we don't need to use them because they are bothersome, and that they have been doing fine all these years, why now? You see? Perceived safety. Just because you have never crashed into the front passenger killing them with the force of your mass times your current acceleration doesn't meant that it will never happen. The risks are always the same, its just your state of preparedness that prevent an incident from turning from bad to fatal. People don't see that, we are raised as eternal optimists.

Its because of this state of mind that prevents us from containing this flu pandemic. We were proud enough to declare ourselves free of an outbreak. I never believed it for a second. That's why I don't read the newspapers. Now we are closing schools and yet people don't feel the need to take preventive measures. How could they if they think that wearing your safety belts is too much trouble? So people continue to travel, to go out even if they feel sick because 'I feel fine, its just a small thing, it happens all the time.' Optimism can kill you.

I was at the supermarket recently and this seriously ill woman was shopping. Coughing, runny nose, her face was swollen and all. She just couldn't care less about the people around her. Her companion, looking irritated just snapped with ,'Ok, we'll just go to a doctor later, okay?'. I don't know if she was there against her will or what was the story, but that is how we will never be safe. Taking into account that this virus can mutate and become more virulent, their estimate is sometime year end, but I think that it can happen sooner and render these anti-virals ineffective. Don't need a PhD to tell you that.

If you ask me, if you feel ill, quarantine yourself. If you're out and you're spreading disease, someone in a biosuit should haul your ass to quarantine so fast you wish you never went out. Maybe a quarantine + interrogation room, that should keep more people indoors.

And yes, that someone in that biosuit would probably be me.