Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Maybe I Just Don't Trust Science Like I Should, But This Is A Bit Disconcerting

Read these short and not-so-short pieces about scientists reconstructing the deadly 1918 influenza virus. This particularly was far from reassuring:

REST ASSURED: The public health risk of resurrecting the virus is minimal because people developed immunity to the deadly 1918 virus after the pandemic, and a certain degree of immunity is believed to persist today.

Oh well--"a certain degree of immunity." So what is that degree? 100%? 2%? Somehow I'd like to know that if we are going to reconstruct one of the most deadly viruses in human history that we had some clue about just how much immunity we had to this thing.

Also, see Lawyers, Guns, and Money for a discussion of Bush's proposal to allow the military to enforce quarantines. This sounds like about the worst idea I could possibly imagine. Because nervous uneducated kids who are scared of getting a disease they don't understand and have guns in their hands make me feel real scared.