Saturday, January 12, 2013

Possibility of scarcity spurs purchases of guns and flu shots

Today's NY Times' front page says, "Sales of Guns Soar in U.S. as Nation Weighs Tougher Limits.  

The Times' Quotation of the Day is:  "If I had 1,000 AR-15’s I could sell them in a week."

The quote is from Jack Smith, a gun dealer in Des Moines, Iowa, referring to a popular style of semiautomatic rifle.

And in the last few days we have heard about shortages of liquid Tamiflu for children (there is no evidence the stuff works, but worrisome evidence it caused a number of acute behavioral disorders and deaths in children, especially in Japan, where it was prescribed frequently).  At best, it might shorten the flu by one day.  Tamiflu is the Rumsfeld drug, in case you forgot.  Aspartame is the Rumsfeld sweetener.  Without Rummy, the consummate insider, likely neither product would have received FDA approval.

We are also faced with potential shortages of flu vaccine, we are told.  What?  With at least 6 companies making vaccine and so many doses ordered for the US supply? Actually, CDC has a webpage devoted to reasons for perennial vaccine supply interruptions, last updated in September.

In fact, 128.1 million doses of vaccine have been distributed.  The actual number of people getting the shots is a big secret.  If there is a shortage of vaccine this year, which is doubtful, you can thank the CDC-media partnership that brought you the frightening emergency that never was, yet agaiN.

UPDATE JAN 12:  A NY Times "City Room" article today says Governor Cuomo (refusing to be one-upped by Mayor Menino) has declared a NY State public health emergency and suspended a law preventing pharmacists from vaccinating children:

As officials have stepped up their efforts encouraging vaccinations, there have been scattered reports of shortages. But officials said plenty of the vaccine was available.
According to the C.D.C., makers of the flu vaccine produced about 135 million doses for this year. As of early this month, 128 million doses had been distributed. While that would not be enough for every American, only 37 percent of the population get a flu shot each year.
2nd UPDATE Jan 12:  CDC's Richard Besser told ABC News there is a "glimmer of hope" for the flu outbreak.  I even looked up the term:  it means "there is a slight chance that something positive will happen."  Dr. Besser said this could be the worst flu in a decade... then said the outbreak had peaked, as CDC's graphs indicate happened more than a week ago.  

We don't seem to be speaking the same language. Flu naturally peaks, then goes away over 2-3 months, almost every year.  Now it is on the downswing.  We are not facing a slight chance something good will happen with the flu outbreak, we are facing absolute certainty that it will continue to decline over the next 1-2 months.

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