Stupid, Shortsighted “Conservatives”

Image for post
Image for post
Stupid, shortsighted “conservative”

The Trump Administration is willfully running the risk of a flu pandemic.

There are any number of reasons to condemn the Trump administration for its handling of asylum seekers and other undocumented immigrants at the southern border of the United States.

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently had to order the Administration to provide basic sanitary products, adequate food, and a place to sleep to children it is holding in custody on the border, enforcing a previous court decision. The Administration had argued that it has no legal obligation to provide such things to the children.

To date, it has been relatively easy for most people in the United States to avoid getting too upset about such news because it does not have much direct impact on most of us. We can denounce the Administration. fulminate on Facebook and Twitter, and go about our business.

The stupidity and shortsightedness of the “conservatives” in the Administration has now led them to a policy choice we should all pay close attention to.

They have decided not to provide flu vaccines to migrant families at border detention facilities.

The flu contributed to the deaths of at least three children in detention facilities, but see above. They were not your children, or mine, so we can refrain from getting too upset.

The flu pandemic of 1918 killed more people than WWI. 50 million people worldwide, including roughly 675,000 in the United States.

We have a much better understanding of how viruses work now and much better treatments, but with Republicans disinvesting in public health and allowing rural hospitals to close, to say nothing of refusing to provide minimal sanitation to the denizens of the detention camps, a flu outbreak at the border has the potential to become severe.

We should raise the alarum now. No matter what you think about detainees at the border, letting the flu spread unchecked in camps is a really bad idea. Viruses are hard to contain. The flu is different each year.

The flu vaccine is less reliable than most vaccines because of how the virus changes. Doctors take in information from around the world about which virus is spreading and its effects, then make an educated determination as to the exact composition of the vaccine.

The most recent research shows that vaccinated persons are significantly less likely to die of flu. That is, some people who get the vaccine still get the flu, but they are far less likely to die of it if they do get it if they have had the vaccine.

Apparently Trump and his toadies do not much care if detained migrants die, of the flu or anything else. This is unacceptable on its own terms, but we have no obvious mechanism to change the Administration’s policies at the moment.

Trump et al. emphatically have a responsibility to minimize the deaths of U.S. citizens from all causes. A repeat of the 1918 pandemic is unlikely for several reasons, but there is zero reason to take the risk. We should all contact our members of Congress and demand that the Trump Administration take all reasonable actions to minimize the threat of a flu pandemic, including vaccinating migrants in detention camps.

We have no reason to allow the moral sickness of “conservatives” to kill the rest of us.

Written by

Uppity gay, Buddhist, author, historian.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store