A Nation of Typhoid Marys – Nicholas Kristof

Think of the 47 million Americans who lack insurance. They are less likely to receive flu vaccines (which might or might not help), less likely to receive prompt care when they get sick, and less able financially to stay home from work — and thus they are more likely both to die and to spread the virus inadvertently.

“These are, in effect, 47 million ‘Typhoid Marys’ of the next pandemic — at risk themselves and to their families and neighbors,” said Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.(1)

Mr. Kristof has had a run of very good articles on subjects that will matter a lot in the coming few years. If you haven’t been keeping up with him lately, you may want to head over to the archives at the New York Times and play a little catch up…

I found this quote in the column from Dr. Redlener, insightful…and scary.

This is a most dangerous brew: a dysfunctional health care system, vast numbers of Americans without access to health care, a severe recession, overextended and highly stressed hospitals, and the prospect of a nasty new killer virus.

This is a lot like the point I was trying to make on Saturday. The confluence of events is only going to make each individual crisis loom larger in the aggregate.

(1) via Op-Ed Columnists – A Nation of Typhoid Marys – NYTimes.com.

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