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Level 5: Pandemic Is Imminent

Wednesday, April 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The WHO presser is fascinating. Four questions I wonder if anyone in the White House press corps will pose to the president tonight:

1. Have you or any member of the U.S. delegation who made the trip to the Mexico received any treatment for H1N1?

2. The WHO recommended that countries review the “social distancing maneuvers” available to it. One such maneuver would be the suspension cross-border traffic via land, sea and air from Mexico. Are there any conditions under which you would order such a suspension, and if so, what are those conditions?

3. Have you had any conversations with your staff and relevant agency personnel about the possibility of suspending cross-border traffic?

4. Under what conditions will you order that the patent on relevant drugs be broken?

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Very Good News For The GOP, And Why President Obama Had Better Worry About Not Becoming Another Arnold

Wednesday, April 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Here’s the latest polling on the public’s reaction to the massive tax hikes imposed on California by the Dems, Arnold and a handful of tax-loving Republicans led by State Senator Abel Maldonado:


Because the state leadership decided to deceptively label and describe every initiative, let me translate all the gibberish: Sacramento refused to do any serious cutting but instead jammed through huge hikes in income and sales taxes while attempting to rip off every other special fund in the state.

Voters watched it closely and were disgusted by the “solution.” They are going to overwhelmingly reject those parts of it which had to be put to the voters.

No doubt the Sacramento crowd will come up with more tax hikes, but the tax revolt that is brewing will continue to build and voters will not forgive or forget this extraordinary failure of government when the pols come around next November. The state is badly broken and run by a coalition of incompetents and a bored and directionless governor whose best days were his first few months in office when he moved aggressively to cut the taxes he is now trying to raise.

The important lesson in the California melt-down and the voters reaction top it and rejection of a tax-hike solution set is that President Obama and the Congressional Democrats are following strategies very similar to those adopted by Sacramento. People like the president just as they liked Arnold when he was elected and then re-elected.

But they hate high taxes and lousy services, complicated government schemes to regulate their businesses and their lives, and especially deceitful, self-serving posturing by elected officials. Arnold is now about as highly esteemed as Gray Davis before him. Like Arnold, President Obama has started his time in office with high popularity, but that popularity won’t protect his electability when the public absorbs the fact that the taxes he is planning are even more staggering than those imposed in the Golden State, and the government growth he is engineering even more vast than that which has occured on the west coast.

Forget Arlen Specter. The most important political message of this season is going to come out of California in three weeks.

Republican politicians like Maldonado who want political futures in the GOP will have to find a way to repent of their almost criminally stupid support for tax hikes to cover massive spending, or they will have to bolt the party like Senator Specter did. This isn’t about “big tent/little tent” but about a core principle that rejects the level of taxation and spending being pushed by Democrats, a level embodied in the non-stimulus package that ruined Senator Specter’s standing in the party (and with many independents). Democrats dismissed the tea parties as marginal outbursts by marginal people. The very blue state of California is about to send a message that will most likely be ignored or misunderstood by MSM, but the GOP at every level should focus on the vote and the voter anger behind it.

“Clearly we are on track for a pandemic in the coming months.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Short, calm and to the point from the WHO’s Neil Ferguson:

Clearly we are on track for a pandemic in the coming months.

The good news is that we were all worried about so-called bird flu H5N1 which was a much more dangerous virus. Here, we are not in the same ball park.

But we can’t at the moment answer the question is it comparable to 1918 Spanish flu which killed a lot of people – or is it much more like Hong Kong flu.

We are coming out of the normal time of year when we have flu circulating in the UK so we don’t really know what size of epidemic there may be in the next couple of months.

It is almost certain that even if it does fade away in the next few weeks which it might we will get a sizable epidemic in the autumn.

We might expect up to 30-40% of the population to become ill in the next six months if this truly turns into a pandemic.

We could get substantial numbers infected in the next few weeks. If I was to be a betting man I would say it would be a slightly longer period of time just because we are heading into the summer months.

Taking the professor’s low estimate of 30% and applying it to the U.S., that means 90,000,000 cases of the flu. Now if someone will just supply a projected fatality rate, we can get a fairly useable picture of what’s ahead, and then perhaps the government will address whether it will be doing anything other than “monitoring” the situation. I

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