Tuesday’s sign of impending doom and destruction takes us, via financial times, to Scotland and elsewhere. Birds die by a bushel, and that’s bad news for the rest of us.
The flu is a highly pathogenic strain of the H5N1 virus. Since early detection in poultry and wild birds in the spring of 2021, this new species has killed more than 86 million birds in the US and Europe alone, primarily from poultry culling, the mass slaughter of birds in fallen sites. found it. The European Food Safety Authority said the 2021-2022 epidemic season was the largest on record on the continent.
Bird flu is a proven killer, and not just of birds.
Only two cases of the new H5N1 strain have been recorded in humans, but according to the World Health Organization, 456 people have died since 2003 after contracting previous strains of the virus. Emerging infectious diseases pose a growing threat to both humans and animals, as virologists have warned for decades, with little effect until Covid struck. The WHO reports that 75 percent of new infectious diseases discovered in the past three decades originated in animals.
The previous administration*, of course, took the US out of the World Health Organization because the previous administration* was staffed by meatheads who conceived other meatheads at the behest of the chief. To remind? From the BBC:
“The world is now suffering because of the Chinese government’s crime,” [Trump] said, adding that China had “caused a global pandemic”. The president accused China of pressuring the WHO to “mislead the world” about the virus, without providing evidence for his allegations. “China has total control over the World Health Organization,” the president said.
It will take decades to undo the damage he wrought to public health, damage that is still ongoing. Meanwhile, the birds get sick and die.
The level of transmission in wild bird species is unprecedented. While previous species affected a handful of species before going extinct at the end of winter, the current one has infected hundreds of species and hung around in populations year-round. In Rajasthan, India, locals watched with alarm last November when Demoiselles cranes, elegant gray-blue birds with long black necks, began to show signs of lethargy and confusion. Three hundred of the three-meter-tall birds, which feature prominently in Indian poetry and mythology, are said to have died. The virus spread west and destroyed 8,000 cranes in Israel, “the worst blow to wildlife in the country’s history,” the environment minister said. At Mikri Prespa Lake in Greece, home to the world’s largest Dalmatian pelican colony, more than half of the huge, prehistoric-looking birds have perished. An annual count of the species in the Balkans in May revealed a 40 percent decline in population compared to last year.
Sooner or later, this species or something like that can make the leap from Dalmatian pelicans to the people of Dalmatia, and we’ll go back to the races. Only it would strike a United States with a radically different attitude to public health: a carefully cultivated opposition to the idea that government should take steps to protect the public if it interferes with our patronage of the service economies.
Viruses don’t care, but wealthy TV pundits will make quite a bit of money.
Charles P Pierce is the author of four books, most recently: idiot Americaand has been a working journalist since 1976. He lives near Boston with his wife, but no longer his three children.
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