Rethinking Healthcare

A1N1 proving limits of health technology

A1N1 proving limits of health technology

Posting in Food

One thing our rising health care bill in the U.S. proved is that treating only the rich and middle class does not make a healthy society. This realization will eventually prove global, thanks to A1N1.

When I flew to Shanghai in May a scene from CSI: Wherever broke out.

Three people, dressed as if going into a clean room, entered the plane with instruments at the ready.

Each passenger had their temperature taken, remotely, and anyone measuring over 99 degrees Fahrenheit got further testing. (PoliceOne sells some nifty bio suits.)

It was hard not to laugh, but it was no joke. Lots of folks are having their Chinese sojourns canceled because they, or someone near them, had what might have been A1N1 swine flu.

Throughout my trip the panic spread. People handed out masks on the street. Every food service worker, and many public safety workers, wore them. It wasn't until we were flying back into Chicago, and I watched a Chinese passenger finally remove his mask, that the panic subsided.

Sadly it isn't doing any good. The flu is spreading worldwide and it's deadlier than first supposed. Some cases are even resisting the latest anti-viral drugs.

It's unlikely that there have already been 1 million U.S. cases, as one CDC official recently estimated. But there have been a bunch. And there are more on the way.

So we go to phase two, vaccines. As many as 600 doses of vaccine may be needed just for the U.S. And that may be just the first wave. Flus mutate. That's why we get vaccines yearly for seasonal flu.

All this proves the limits of modern health technology in the face of a global market. This flu spread mainly via the air, literally, following global airline routes. It then spreads from person-to-person through the air. Those masks don't help.

One thing our rising health care bill in the U.S. proved is that treating only the rich and middle class does not make a healthy society. This realization will eventually prove global, thanks to A1N1. We need a lot more global coordination, and every type of technology deployed, if we're to keep the global economy alive.

Biohazard suits won't work.

Share this

Dana Blankenhorn

Contributing Editor

Contributing Editor Dana Blankenhorn has written for the Chicago Tribune, Advertising Age's "NetMarketing" supplement and founded the Interactive Age Daily for CMP Media. He holds degrees from Rice and Northwestern universities. He is based in Atlanta. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure