Sunday, June 26, 2016

Frantic Fear Mongering

Rory McIlroy will not be going to the Olympics because of the Zika virus, apparently fearing that he might get the virus, become pregnant and have a microcephalic baby.

I wondered what the hell McIlroy was going to do at the Olympics, and then found out that golf has once again become part of the Olympics. It was dropped in 1904 but reinstated this year. I think being frightened of the Zika virus sort of verifies that golfers are not Olympic caliber athletes and that golf is not an Olympic sport.

The media hype over this virus passes comprehension.

The virus has been around since 1947 and has never been considered anything other than a minor irritant until the American media picked it up this year. There has never been any suspicion that it caused anything other than mild, transitory symptoms, even in children. Even now, in the face of all the media hype, there is no direct evidence that it causes anything other than that.

The CDC released a news item on April 13 of this year headlined, "CDC Concludes Zika Causes Microcephaly and Other Birth Defects."

The body of the piece then proceeded to say that the headline was actually false, saying that, "The report notes that no single piece of evidence provides conclusive proof that Zika virus infection is a cause of microcephaly and other fetal brain defects."  They did not, in other words, find any mechanism whereby the virus does the damage, and their conclusion is based entirely on studies of the "correlation is causation" nature.

Further, the studies appear to have been selected to suit their preconceived position, because New England Complex Systems Institute included in their studies one in Columbia where nearly 12,000 pregnant women infected with Zika virus were found to have developed zero microcephaly cases. This organization was not as arrogantly positive as the CDC, but reported with a somewhat more scientifically open mind that,

“In light of this evidence, NECSI says the cause of microcephaly in Brazil should be reconsidered. One possibility that has been raised is the pesticide pyriproxyfen, which is applied to drinking water in some parts of Brazil…”

So I think Rory McIlroy could probably go to Brazil and,
so long as he didn’t drink the water, get as pregnant as nature will allow him to get.

And be sure to remember one thing about the media. They do not care whether it is true or not. They only care that it is dramatic and that it will get attention.

1 comment:

bruce said...

What, golf is an olympic sport now? Full one or just exhibition? I'll have to check that out...

I read the CDC report before, interesting to see the second, more doubtful one with a possible other causality. The CDC report did point out there was no definite cause in their study, however. More research is needed, really.

I think there there is more pressing issues in Brazil, especially with the Olympics that just the Zika thing. Yes, it's a problem, especially with 50,000+ people coming in for the olympics and then going back home, possibly to spread whatever they caught (if any) in Brazil.

Panic, fear, uncertainty and doubt are the bane of what the olympics are supposed to stand for. But fear mongering is never good at any time. But it sells newspapers, news programs, blogs and needless to say, products. "Get your Zika proof face mask here! Only $19.99 a month in three easy installments" Sheesh...

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