Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Swine flu - global threat raised.

The World Health Organisation's emergency committee has raised the pandemic level for flu as the deaths in Mexico reached 150.

The WHO committee said the increased threat level, from phase three to phase four (out of a possible six), recognised the crisis has taken a significant step toward pandemic influenza, but that did not mean a pandemic was inevitable. Nonetheless, it said, the virus had spread so far that "containment is not a feasible operation" and the international response should be to try to limit its transmission and treat those who were affected.

This is further bad news for the Republican party as they have spent the past few weeks ridiculing the Democrats for including a $900 million plan within the stimulus package to prepare for such a flu pandemic, claiming that this had nothing to do with the economy.

The spread of swine flu roiled trading in everything from livestock futures to the Mexican peso to airline stocks on Monday, as traders worried that consumers would rein in spending on travel and food perceived to be less safe because of the outbreak.

Most major stock averages traded in a narrow range throughout the day, but the flu scare's effects were evident in many corners of the market. The Dow Jones Transportation Average tumbled 4.7%. Airline stocks sank. AMR slipped 13%, while Continental Airlines declined 16%.

Whilst getting busy trying to strip things out of the stimulus package one of the things which the Republicans fixed their eye on was preparation for a flu pandemic:

After meeting with Mr. Obama, Sen. Collins expressed concern about a number of spending provisions, including $780 million for pandemic-flu preparedness. "I have no doubt that the president is willing to negotiate in good faith, that he wants to have a bipartisan bill," Sen. Collins said.

So, a bipartisan bill meant that the US stripped the stimulus package of preparation for the very kind of flu pandemic which is currently circulating the globe.

It's indicative of the way that the Republican party is at the moment. They simply can't put a foot right.

Just as Alaska's Mount Redoubt erupted as soon as Bobby Jindal mocked the Democrats for wishing to engage in volcano monitoring, there was something inevitable about a flu pandemic so soon after the Republicans had stripped preparation for one from the stimulus package.

Everything these guys touch, turns almost instantly into shit.

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