Unlike, Say, Iran's Nukes, Flu Is Worth Real Worrying

Pandemic possible, and closer to home
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Apr 28, 2009 9:29 AM CDT
A boy wears a mask as he arrives from South Korea at Auckland International Airport, New Zealand, today.   (New Zealand Herald)
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(Newser) – In the modern world, it’s hard to know what to be scared of, writes Eugene Robinson in the Washington Post. We watch the flashy threats—Russia, Pakistan, terrorists—and end up worrying about the wrong disaster. “But we also should think about other threats that could potentially cause much greater loss of life than any conceivable terrorist attack,” he cautions—like a widespread flu outbreak.

When avian flu broke out several years ago, Robinson called risk analysts, “expecting them to say that everyone should just calm down. Instead, they told me that if someone were looking for a legitimate potential disaster to worry about, a deadly flu pandemic would be an excellent choice.” Swine flu looks manageable so far, but it’s a good candidate if you want something to fear.