Old News, Still Threatening

In a world where people are afraid of their own shadow, and where fear is used as a political and social tool, the mere talk about the Zika virus may cause a major economic disaster.

It’s true that a website page at the CDC created in February 18, 2016, at the height of the Zika virus scare, was updated just recently on August 07, 2018, which spread renewed waves of anxiety and fear in the media here. So, basically everything reported was old news.

In 2016 the dormant Zika virus, I think it was unheard of for 60 years, re-emerged in our region. We have to remember it is endemic, it has always been here, only 5% of people infected realize thenyare sick, dengue and chikungunya are 1,000% worse. And I am quoting from the CDC site, Director Robert Redfield, M.D. admits, that while they suspect Zika puts pregnancies at risk, he CANNOT confirm it: “We know that Zika virus infection during pregnancy can cause serious health problems in babies, such as birth defects and vision problems, including conditions not always evident at birth. We are still learning about the full range of long-term health problems these babies could face,” end of quote.

They are not sure, they are learning, taking precautions, covering their butts, and meanwhile the media sensationalizes the subject, putting our economy at great risk.

OK, so it’s old new, still MinTour/MinHealth should announce to the world that we have NO new reported cases, that Aruba is handling the situation well and controlling the mosquito population. We had no rain, so far so good.

From talking to friends at the Public Health Department I understood the following: Aruba has just ONE person, an Epidemiologist, a public health professional, who is currently an advisor to the MinHealth, in charge of weekly reports to the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, in the Netherlands, where CDC obtains its information.

Imagine, just one person wielding incredible power to declare an epidemic, not a committee, just a single decision-maker.

My sources continue to claim that in 2016 the island had just one confirmed Zika virus patient, the cases did not multiply, there was no epidemic curve – increase in cases, indicating an outbreak – yet some trigger-happy staff members were ready to declare an epidemic outbreak, out of sheer enthusiasm for disaster, and spend the entire Public Health Department budget on testing and retesting, at the family related lab.

Funny?! Not.

Social media often hypes threats to the point that sociologists and psychologists call mass hysteria, where a population, a crowd, or a group of people, perceives an imaginary threat, and reacts out of great fear. Example? Cancelling trips to Aruba for no good reason.

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August 13, 2018
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