Thursday, June 4, 2015

MERS, or How to Fool Fools Who Can't Fact Check

I was asked by my company today to wear a mask to and from work, as a preventative measure against MERS.

Now I try to not knock on people too much, but I am not sure why so many in Korea feel that a mask is a preventative measure against a disease that is not airborne.

There was a single study a year ago that suggested that it MIGHT be airborne, but since 2012 every single case has come from direct contact with someone who has it. Someone with MERS sneezes on you, yeah you might wanna get checked out. But there is not a single case of someone catching MERS who hasn't come in to physical contact with someone who has the disease.

Even if all those fact and studies that the WHO, CDC and European Health Agency can't convince you, just think about it logically. The disease started in Saudi Arabia. Think about how people there dress.

not mask enough for you?

Perhaps Korea could outlaw spitting as a way to halt the spread of MERS? But that is just crazy talk.

Also, while the fatality rate of 38% is alarmingly high, that is 38% of reported cases, which means that a lot of people just got a nasty cough but weren't diagnosed with it. When you factor those people in how does that effect the fatality rate. My guess is it lowers it considerably. Also, look at who is dying in Korea. Two men over 70 and a 60 year old "heavy smoker". I don't mean to trivialize that, but a senior citizen who is already in hospital for a lung infection and gets any other serious lung infection is in trouble.

Finally, and to prove the physical contact aspect, everyone who has caught the disease can be traced back to patient zero, who went to the Middle East and is in agricultural work, or someone who caught it from him. They are ALL in quarantine now. All due respect to the Korean health officials who made that happen, I hope Park Geun Hae buys them all a drink on the taxpayers won.

I get that it is important to be vigilant, but exercising common sense is also important. More people will die in car wrecks in Korea today than will die of MERS. Why isn't everyone freaking out about piss poor traffic safety standards?

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