Coming soon: Another Republican-caused disaster.

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by vrDrew, Apr 30, 2016.

  1. vrDrew, Apr 30, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016

    vrDrew macrumors 65816

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    #1
    The Zika virus.

    Yeah. President Obama has asked Congress for $1.9 billion to combat the spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus. And your friends in the Tea Party Congress say we can't afford it. Because THE DEBT. And because we spent some money last year preventing another dread disease. Ebola. Which, in case you missed it, didn't become a worldwide pandemic. Because the US and other governments spent some money, and dispatched some public health professionals to Africa.

    Its all but inevitable that there will be cases of Zika in the United States this year. And there shouldn't be. Because its been proven, repeatedly, in the history of modern epidemiology, that inspect-spread diseases can be stopped, and eradicated, via a comprehensive public-health program.

    Controlling insect-borne diseases, and public-health programs in general, don't really have a "free market" analog. You need to have trained professionals go out into the community; and get people to cooperate with them. Clean up areas on their property (discarded tires, etc.) that are breeding grounds for insects. But we can't afford it. And asking people to clean up their property violates their freedom.

    Adding to the mix is the profound and widespread scientific ignorance thats a by-product of the Conservative ideology. One tool that has been proven to be amazingly effective has been the release of genetically modified mosquitos. (Short version: The GM mosquitos are all male, and their offspring are sterile. In a single breeding cycle, the population collapses.) No need to spray huge areas with pesticides. No contamination of ground water. No damage to wildlife or agriculture.

    But, right now, in Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi, there is opposition to the the release of GM mosquitos, because people have seen the movie Jurassic Park. They think that genetic modification is going to result in "Super Mosquitos" that are going to come and carry away their children.

    So: Later this year, tens of millions of Americans are going to be living in panic. There will be calls for quarantines. Tens, probably hundreds of billions of dollars in public and private money will be squandered in a nationwide panic that could have been avoided. Its all but inevitable that there will be babies born in the USA in 2017 with horrific brain defects. Courtesy of your family-friendly, fiscally Conservative Republican Congressman.
     
  2. thermodynamic Suspended

    thermodynamic

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    #2
    To be fair, they didn't and still don't mind tax cuts being given to companies that offshore jobs, which in turn leads to less revenue to pay for infrastructure, protection (which includes Zika, which is not a for-profit venture but a pro-life one), and so on.

    Their voting record speaks for itself: http://www.ontheissues.org/SenateVote/Party_2005-63.htm
     
  3. Huntn macrumors G5

    Huntn

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    #3
    The Republicans say they are fiscally responsible- what a frick'n joke, they love spending money, just on the wrong things.
     
  4. zioxide macrumors 603

    zioxide

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    #4
    "Fiscally responsible" by the Republican definition means only spending money on things that will funnel money into companies owned by rich Republican businessmen.
     
  5. jnpy!$4g3cwk, Apr 30, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016

    jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #5
    I assume that means Zika acquired in the U.S. Because there have already been 426 cases. Just not acquired in the mainland. Yet.

    However, there already have been 596 cases acquired in the territories -- mainly Puerto Rico. Here is a map and table:

    http://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.htmlhttp://www.cdc.gov/zika/geo/united-states.html

    OK, 100%-pure libertarians: here is your chance to show how free markets always work perfectly and are 100% applicable to everything.
     
  6. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #6
    I can't see how Paul Ryan or Mitch McConnell could have possible found the time for debate on this given the crucial and might I add, historic legislation they passed this week. And they said Republicans couldn't govern.


    http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-...n-is-poised-to-become-the-u-s-national-mammal
     
  7. MarkusL macrumors 6502

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    #7
    Can't the republicans just build a wall and make the mosquitos pay for it?
     
  8. chown33 macrumors 604

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    #8
    It won't work. Here's why.

    Their tiny little wallets only hold mosqurrency, and there's no exchange in the world that will convert it. I've heard that prawn shops will give them cash for certain valuables, but there's no love lost between arthropods, so it's unclear whether the prawns would be willing to hand cash over to the mosquitos.
     
  9. jkcerda macrumors 6502

    jkcerda

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    #9
    Same goes for democrats
     
  10. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #10
    Not in this case.
     
  11. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #11
    Well, let's wait a second here.

    There is still a lot of debate in the scientific community as to how Zika would affect the United States based on the differences in mosquito species in the United States and their behavior. Some epidemiologists predict that even in areas with high risk of mosquito transmission that Zika would still not have a profound effect. Given our culture, lifestyle, technology, healthcare, and sanitation differences the general consensus is the US is at much lower risk of an outbreak.

    The mosquito species found in America in the US differs from the common Vector we've seen in Africa and South America. Our mosquitos in the US usually feed on a single host until full. The other species tends to jump from person to person to feed and is associated with a higher risk of transmission.

    The primary issue with Zika overall is not the infection itself- most people with access to healthcare have very high rates of recovery. The problem are exposed pregnant women who's children are prone to profound birth defects. And there is current no specific treatment or drug prophylaxis. Historical outbreaks of the related but much more severe Dengaue have been shown to be self limiting in high risk US cities. Same with Chickungyuna.

    Ebola on the otherhand is a highly contagious disease with a high risk of mortality. Honestly personally I'd be much more concerned about an Ebola outbreak. Although the government spent a lot of money on Ebola, I believe it's well worth the cost as its a pretty scary disease. And luckily we did not have an outbreak.

    There is a lot we don't know about the Zika Virus and its transmission, but I personally am not concerned about a major epidemic or pandemic. Preventive measures can't hurt, but whether or not it's worth it is the big question.

    If Zika enters the country and we have a dozen or two cases per major city, then spending $1.9B probably isn't worth it. A good start might be ensuring pregnant woman in high risk areas are informed about how to properly protect themselves and their fetus.
     
  12. Bug-Creator macrumors 6502

    Bug-Creator

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    #12
    Well define "major cities" cos for me that still sounds like hundreds of cases, and I'm not sure what $$ value one should calculate for one severly braindamaged child being born healthy instead.
     
  13. LIVEFRMNYC macrumors 603

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  14. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #14
    Miami, Houston and Orlando are the highest risk cities in the US. Due to climate, infliction of foreigners, and mosquito population.

    Unfortunately healthcare and disease containment does come down economics and practicality. I understand the moral argument completely, but the reality is there isn't unlimited money for healthcare. The research expected rate of transmission is far below any of the other South Americans. I'm not discounting the tragedy of a child born with birth defects, but you also have to consider the risk of infection, expected efficacy of mosquito containment, and cost. It's called economic epidemiology.

    It seems to me were politicizing a problem as a profound moral deficit, even though these decisions happen every single day in healthcare, even to the insured. In my opinion there are far greater infectious disease risks than the Zika virus in presently the United States, some easily preventable.

    If it does turn out that Zika infection rates are higher than projected, I imagine it's never too late to kill the mosquitos. As long as the government has a plan for action, digilent monitoring, adequate testing abilities I think it's silly to jump the gun if it's not yet necessary given the pathology and societal factors in the US.

    The US government has shown incredible lack of foresight in handling epidemics and pandemics. The media also has shown to overhype these situations into greater problems than they are, in some cases to start a political conflict.
     
  15. MadeTheSwitch macrumors 6502a

    MadeTheSwitch

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    #15
    Those two things seem diametrically opposed to one another. Usually people are concerned about a disease when there is a lot we don't know about it! Especially about transmission!
     
  16. A.Goldberg, Apr 30, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2016

    A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

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    #16
    A lot we don't know but a lot we can infer.

    There are a lot of specifics that are up in the air, but it's due to a lack of information because it had not been reported/studied.
    For example transmission to mother to child via breast milk. That doesn't really have a bearing on the epidemic and actually the current cdc recommendation is for Zika+ moms to breastfeed.

    The birthdate in the US is roughly 1%, 13/1000 births/population). The number of people affected is very finite. If an outbreak were to occur it's far more likely for Non-pregnant women and men would be infected and that would be the indication to take further action.

    It might be worth noting that of all the pregnant woman, Zika-linked microcephaly (small head) in French Polynesia was 1% or less, but perhaps as high as 22% in Brazil, but the study information is supposedly limited and has different metrics. Regardless, the concern we have are for pregnant females with children in the first trimester--- a very very specific and small cohort.

    Pregnant women can wear long sleeves, use bug spray, avoid long term outside exposure when possible, and avoid traveling to outbreak locations. If there was an outbreak, woman would continue to adhere to three measure regardless.

    Other than the danger to fetuses, Zika virus is usually very mild infection and rarely requires any sort of hospitalization. The symptoms last about a week.

    Considering most of the US spends there time indoors and we have the ability to relatively easily and cheaply prevent mosquito bites- and considering the feeding behaviors (our mosquitos are less "promiscuous" as one researcher put it) of our resident mosquito species- I think it's very important to consider what is an effective means of public protection.

    The US has had cases of Dengue fever, a related virus, a far more pathogenic disease transmitted by our native mosquitos. The virus' infection was self limiting and did not turn into an epidemic or pandemic. Tens-hundreds of millions in the world is affected by dengue. The CDCs guidelines is not regular prophylaxis by mosquito killing. It's vector abaitment when the disease crops up locally.

    Therefore, before spending almost 2 billion for an issue that may or may not affect what is believed to be a very small number of individuals sounds crazy to me. The reason why we don't know everything about the virus is because there is insufficient or no data. The breastfeeding question for instance, many of the medications we use on the market have unkown mother to child breastfeeding toxicity. Why don't we test it? Because it's unethical and animal models don't always correlate to humans.

    A number of children are highly allergic to bees. Bee strings can be deadly quickly in this group. Does that mean we spend billions eradicating the world of bees?

    I'm not trying to sound like a heartless guy, I truly empathize for all of those who have been affected. But at this point it seems illogical and impractical to me- and others in the medical community, to react in an ineffective and overzealous manner. Killing off mosquitos is great in general, they're pesky, but assuming an outbreak you can never have 100% protection and the singlehanded best thing in any Arran that can be done is for pregnant women to protect themselves from being bitten in the first place.
     
  17. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #17
    Give Obama 1.9 billion without a clear plan attached? About like giving a heroin addict 50 dollars to buy some pizza.
     
  18. vrDrew thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #18


    I think you are underestimating the level of public panic and concern that will accompany even a limited outbreak of Zika virus in the United States. While you are absolutely correct about the medical details, I think it worth noting that both the CDC and WHO are taking the threat of Zika extremely
    seriously.

    First, I think we need to spend a moment looking at some of the financial details. The Obama administration has dealt with the immediate Zika threat by transferring some funds previously allocated to the Ebola outbreak. Ebola hasn't disappeared from the face of the planet, and it could be argued that this is akin to prematurely ending a course of antibiotics. From a long-term public health standpoint, we need to continue our work developing treatments, vaccines, and eradication programs for ebola. We can't simply sweep the problem under the rug and hope it doesn't come up again.

    Also, the $1.9 billion the Obama administration has requested for Zika covers a wide variety of tasks. We still don't fully understand the relationship between Zika and microcephaly. Figuring out quite what that relationship is will take some time, and the involvement and hard work of researchers. Researchers will also be working on vaccines against the disease; as well as more effective testing and treatment options.

    In my opinion, the Zika virus poses an unprecedented potential to cause widespread a public-health panic in the US. From an intellectual and emotional standpoint, I think most people were able to manage the risk factors associated with other recent disease epidemics: Don't have unprotected sex with strangers or share hypodermic needles to reduce your chances of acquiring HIV. Don't go to West Africa and touch dead bodies to avoid Ebola.

    Zika is different: You cannot reasonably expect people living in the southern United States to "avoid getting bit by mosquitos." And the population most at risk of suffering catastrophic consequences, ie. pregnant women and their unborn children, are arguably the people that society in general ought to do the most to protect and keep safe.

    The United States is a rich country. And two billion dollars is, frankly, chump change in the big scheme of things. When I think of the hundreds of billions we spend every year making old ladies and toddlers take off their shoes before getting on airplanes, then I think spending a relative pittance to prevent the sort of widespread panic that an outbreak of Zika in the US would cause is (sorry, bad pun) a no brainer.
     
  19. rdowns macrumors Penryn

    rdowns

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    #19
  20. A.Goldberg macrumors 68000

    A.Goldberg

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    #20
    Nice find. I've been looking for that.

    Unfortunately, 1.48B for a list of 20 items isn't very specific. Keep in mind the Govt has already spent 600m+ this year additional on Zika. I do see some things I like.

    #1 Improving the CDC's tracking system is a much needed investment. Many of the retrospective studies of outbreaks in the US have criticized the CDC's reporting system metrics as being incomplete. This would help in all areas of disease.

    #2 Enhancing testing abilities. Right now there's only a few places in the US equipped to test for Zika. Detection is key to identify and assessing the outbreak. #1 allows the govt to form an informed response.

    #3 Increasing Medicare in Puerto Rico, necessary as the disease has struck there. Not sure if $250m is appropriate though.

    $200 million for pharma research isn't much. I have read some info that we may be able to modify an existing yellow fever (if I remember correctly) vaccine. Such Vaccines cannot be used to treat an active infection. That said, given the relative risk of Zika (very small) I highly doubt we'd see a vaccine... Let a lone a specific treatment come about until at least after the US likely outbreak passes between climate and the expected self limited nature. I suspect monoclonal antibodies for acute treatment is where that will go. The problem with MAB's is they're atrociously expensive on the market.
     
  21. Zombie Acorn macrumors 65816

    Zombie Acorn

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    #21
    You just provided a bullet point list for a 1.3 B slush fund. That's not a plan. We know Obama likes to squander billions of dollars like with his funding for Health insurance coops and picking winners in the solar industry, but the Republicans are going to have to make it a little tougher.
     
  22. jnpy!$4g3cwk macrumors 65816

    jnpy!$4g3cwk

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    #22
    I wonder how much the following graphs differ between President Obama and his presidential predecessors? Because, while the President is the chief executive of the government, most of this spending is directed by Congress over the decades.

    "Mandatory" spending: Think Social Security and Medicare mainly, although there are things like highway trust funds (special taxes that go back to roads) and some veterans benefits (part of overall military-related spending). BTW, I've been paying into Social Security and Medicare for 40-something years and I would like to start receiving benefits one of these days. These programs all work more or less the same way they worked starting under FDR, then Truman, and Eisenhower, and finally, LBJ. A few tweaks since LBJ, like for prescription drugs.


    [​IMG]

    Now, here is the discretionary spending part -- the part that they argue about every few months:

    [​IMG]

    Note the direct military spending, and the additional spending on veterans health benefits, some DoE spending, etc. I'm not arguing at this point whether military spending is too low or too high. But, direct and indirect military spending is the lions share.

    I'm at a loss to apply your remarks to the actual budget. What was it you were trying to say about President Obama?
     
  23. maxsix Suspended

    maxsix

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    #23
    Once in power, it will be interesting to see if Hillary will be as skilled at bashing Republicans as Hussein has been. With only a few months till the end of his reign, the grip of anxiety must be chipping away...
     
  24. VulchR macrumors 68020

    VulchR

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  25. AlliFlowers Contributor

    AlliFlowers

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    #25
    Fixating on Orlando being a target. Can you imagine the financial impact on the state of FL if Disney loses international visitors due to the threat of bringing Zika home with them?
     

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