How to connect this to the neighborhood...hmm. This guy in the neighborhood was talking about Zika. There you go!
The Q had the pleasure of meeting an NYC Medical Ethicist at dinner the other evening. For the curious and curiouser, science geeks make excellent company. Of course, like any science fiction fan, I wanted to know when and how the Clones will take over, and whether they're already walking among us. Turns out the issue on his plate right now, and about which he's about to deliver a talk, was Zika virus. And how the media response, and as a result poLITical response, is way out-a-hand and unwarranted. Yet, anyway, and has made untold millions worry.
I'd name him by name but it's way early in this soon-to-be-damning debate, and there are a lot of people frantically searching the internet for clues, and I'm not a journalist, just a dude who eats dinner and talks to people. His evidence was damning though. Because the WHO and CDC were so slow and inept in their response to Ebola, he thinks they're making up for it by making a big deal about a mosquito-borne virus that has no evidence of connection with birth defects - at this point, he says, it's too early and largely anecdotal. A vague possibility is how he described it, and relative to the typical defect numbers in countries like Brazil. When I started investigating his claim by going to the Library of Congress (er, I mean googling) I found precious little debate on the internets about it. What I DID notice was that almost every new major story in every major outlet was dated the same date...that's usually a sign that you're merely reading a rewriting of a press release. Most interviews seemed to be conducted with the same few people, though if you'll notice they're not really interviews at all. More "Dr. XXX says that..." which could have easily been picked up in the press release. Having written a few of them myself, I gotta say it's pretty incredible how otherwise seasoned journalists print the things verbatim.
Mr. M.E., as I'm calling the PhD, said that the number of confirmed cases of coexistent microcephaly is, like, negligible, compared to the number of Zika infectees. Yes, hundreds have come forward with babies afflicted with the horrible and heartbreaking disease. And the images of such children are emotionally powerful. But, as my new friend offers, most of these "thousands" babies haven't been tested. They merely point to, perhaps, a larger than usual number of tiny heads this year. That is, the issue could either be a) completely unrelated or b) merely more people coming forward. As Brazil has an enormous underclass and wildly divergent opportunities for medical care, we could either be seeing more microcephaly or just more of the already existing cases.
But think about this - have you ever heard of governments telling women not to become pregnant because of remote possibility of having birth defect? That's craaaaaazy. There's a million things that can go wrong in pregnancy, but usually they don't, and it's hardly reason to stop women (and men) from having families. And considering canceling the Olympics? Really???
Sounds like a typical case to overhype and under-science to this blogger. Anyone else? Then again, don't ever take anything the Q says as unadulterated fact. I've been wrong too many times, but I DO love a good debunk or two now and then!
Some more fun debunking here.
The Q at Parkside
News and Nonsense from the Brooklyn neighborhood of Lefferts and environs, or more specifically a neighborhood once known as Melrose Park. Sometimes called Lefferts Gardens. Or Prospect-Lefferts Gardens. Or PLG. Or North Flatbush. Or Caledonia (west of Ocean). Or West Pigtown. Across From Park Slope. Under Crown Heights. Near Drummer's Grove. The Side of the Park With the McDonalds. Jackie Robinson Town. Home of Lefferts Manor. West Wingate. Near Kings County Hospital. Or if you're coming from the airport in taxi, maybe just Flatbush is best.