Friday, February 9, 2007

The Tao of Bird Flu

1. Bird flu, avian influenza, H5N1 – they all sound ominous. Pandemic sounds worse.

2. We have known about bird flu for a long time. Bird flu has been around much longer than that.

3. We all desire a world free from the threat of bird flu. That may mean a world free of birds, an unpleasant prospect.

4. If we do nothing, sooner or later we will have a pandemic. If we do something, we still may have a pandemic.

5. You would think that bird flu would drive the countries of Asia together to defeat this terrible foe. In some ways it drives them apart.

6. So far, bird flu has filled people more with fear than with disease. Better to be fearful than oblivious to risk.

7. There is nothing beneficial about bird flu. There is nothing honorable about bird flu. It kills birds and children.

8. Birds, for the most part, are sympathetic creatures, but not so bird flu.

9. With scores of people dead so far, H5N1 is not just a bird flu anymore.

10. It would be a calamity if bird flu triggered a pandemic before we had the weapons to fight it.

11. We cannot see bird flu, and we cannot hear it, but we can see the death it leaves behind, and we hear the grieving it causes. We see the fear in people’s faces when they think about bird flu.

12. Is bird flu beyond men’s knowledge and power to adequately respond? Let us hope not.

13. Pandemics come and pandemics go, but we will always have viruses and flu.

14. If there was only one strain of bird flu, that would be bad enough, but there are many strains. They all have the potential to mutate, and they all have the potential to kill.

15. How can we prepare to fight bird flu when its possible mutations are so unpredictable? Better antivirals would help.

16. The leaders of all the countries around the world need to take bird flu seriously, those of the Orient, of course, because that is where it is coming from; but also those of the West, because that is where it is headed.

17. China, on the surface at least, has seemed hypocritical at times, talking about the need to take measures against bird flu, while refusing to share samples of the virus.

18. In today’s modern world, some aspects of a pandemic are increased, and some are diminished.

19. Someone can just be living their life, with things proceeding normally, like you and I. Then something like bird flu can come along and end it all.

20. Bird flu will run its course. A pandemic will either result or it won’t. It is interesting to note that today man has little control over that process.

21. Every new case of suspected bird flu is loudly reported in the media. This says more about the media than it says about bird flu.

22. Seeing dead birds on TV is bad. Seeing dead birds in your neighborhood is worse.

23. Bird flu has a form, a name, and we know it changes, so it’s not undefined. And it may seem remote to us now, but it doesn’t seem that way to people in Europe.

24. Heaven is great, earth is great, and men are great, but something as tiny as a bird flu virus could lay waste to much that is great.

25. Would that bird flu left no trace when it passed, but there are dead birds, men with masks, people in hospitals, countries in crisis. Bird flu may be invisible, but its effects certainly are not.

26. In battling bird flu, the world must strike a decisive blow, with overwhelming force. Anything less, and bird flu might win.

27. Birds and bird flu are opposite in many ways:One sings, the other is silent;One has wings, the other has none;One lives in light, the other lives in darkness;One builds families which the other destroys;One flies, and dies, killed by the other.

28. Bird flu is a worldwide calamity just waiting to happen. For some, like those in Turkey, Indonesia, etc, the calamity has already begun.

29. The skies over Asia appear to be untroubled, as birds fly overhead. But something ominous and terrible is brewing there. The world holds its breath and waits.

30. Only scientists and doctors can save us from bird flu, but not without effective medication, and lots of it.

31. I used to admire birds for their beauty and grace. I still do, but I have recently begun seeing them as carriers of disease and threats to mankind. After bird flu, I’ll never look at birds the same way again.

32. The sage attacks bird flu while it is a small threat instead of waiting for it to become a large threat.

33. A bird flu pandemic begins with a single human death. A pandemic may have already begun.

34. There are three precious things that bird flu threatens – our safety, our way of life, and our relationship with nature. Can we combat bird flu without threatening these things ourselves?

35. There would be no calamity greater than to lightly battle bird flu.

36. Many people do not fear bird flu, even in countries where it has appeared. That is a reckless attitude.

37. We must delight in the destruction of viruses. That is the only way to beat bird flu.

38. Bird flu will be around as long as there are birds.

39. In fighting bird flu, let us all hope for strong immune systems, as well as effective vaccines and antivirals.

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