[LINK] Pandemic pandemonium

David Boxall david.boxall at hunterlink.net.au
Mon Jun 8 16:36:25 EST 2009

On Mon, 08 Jun 2009 at 10:30:30 +1000 Jan Whitaker wrote:
> At 09:20 PM 7/06/2009, Tom Worthington wrote:
>> In a major emergency, such as a pandemic, all that the authorities
>> can provide to the community is advice. There are not sufficient
>> resources to provide each individual with material assistance. It is
>> therefore important that useful advice is provided. The web would be
>> a useful way to provide such advice, if we could to learn to use it
>> effectively.
> I don't think the website distribution was at all the problem. The 
> problem IS that the systems of communication of information aren't 
> integrated and people are getting really cheesed off about how 
> ineffective that part is. Ring this number, then get referred to 
> another who refers you back to where you started. If they would 
> simplify the system, perhaps with a central point of contact, then it 
> would make sense. But that story of a call centre NOT provided with 
> even basic info about the closest or appropriate hospital or clinic 
> for testing was just out and out incompetence in design/training/planning.
> Not everyone has web access. Stressed mothers with sick kids should 
> not be expected to 'log on'. The phone should be the immediate point 
> of contact. It allows for people to question and get to specifics of 
> their own situation.
> ...

Providing information is only part of the story - and probably not the 
major part. Putting it on the Web is only part of providing information 
- and probably not the major part.

Collecting data is another part of the story - and the value of the 
collected data continues long after the event. As it stands, I'm left in 
doubt of the integrity of the data collected about this "pandemic". Do 
we really know the extent of the outbreak? Figures are published, but 
how accurate are they? Judging by the blog post, many infections 
probably aren't reported.

A side issue: it's been reported that people who test positive for swine 
flu, but are recovering, are being prescribed antivirals. If they're 
already on the mend, do they need medication? Every year, tens of 
thousands fall ill with seasonal flu. Thousands die. They're the ones 
who need antivirals. Careless use of medication increases the 
probability of resistance developing.
David Boxall                    |  Dogs look up to us
                                |  And cats look down on us
                                |  But pigs treat us as equals
                                                   --Winston Churchill

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