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BS: SARS

John MacKenzie 21 Apr 03 - 03:44 PM
Beccy 21 Apr 03 - 04:42 PM
Burke 21 Apr 03 - 05:26 PM
Ebbie 21 Apr 03 - 06:24 PM
Burke 21 Apr 03 - 07:02 PM
Ebbie 21 Apr 03 - 09:03 PM
Sorcha 21 Apr 03 - 10:22 PM
mg 21 Apr 03 - 11:50 PM
Cluin 21 Apr 03 - 11:56 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 03 - 01:53 AM
Jeri 22 Apr 03 - 06:58 AM
black walnut 22 Apr 03 - 07:18 AM
GUEST 22 Apr 03 - 07:35 AM
Burke 22 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM
Forum Lurker 22 Apr 03 - 10:56 AM
GUEST 22 Apr 03 - 01:39 PM
black walnut 22 Apr 03 - 02:34 PM
Cluin 22 Apr 03 - 02:42 PM
katlaughing 22 Apr 03 - 04:25 PM
Burke 22 Apr 03 - 05:00 PM
GUEST 22 Apr 03 - 07:13 PM
Peg 23 Apr 03 - 02:12 AM
mouldy 23 Apr 03 - 04:36 AM
gnu 23 Apr 03 - 06:06 AM
Burke 23 Apr 03 - 10:17 AM
Peg 23 Apr 03 - 12:19 PM
katlaughing 23 Apr 03 - 04:16 PM
Cluin 23 Apr 03 - 04:36 PM
Rick Fielding 23 Apr 03 - 05:16 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 03 - 07:07 PM
harpgirl 23 Apr 03 - 07:18 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 03 - 07:24 PM
McGrath of Harlow 23 Apr 03 - 07:28 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 03 - 07:56 PM
Jeri 23 Apr 03 - 08:05 PM
Burke 23 Apr 03 - 08:40 PM
Cluin 23 Apr 03 - 09:34 PM
harpgirl 23 Apr 03 - 10:11 PM
Little Hawk 23 Apr 03 - 11:34 PM
black walnut 24 Apr 03 - 07:44 AM
Peter T. 24 Apr 03 - 09:08 AM
Little Hawk 24 Apr 03 - 09:30 AM
Peg 24 Apr 03 - 10:57 AM
black walnut 24 Apr 03 - 11:55 AM
GUEST,pdc 24 Apr 03 - 12:33 PM
black walnut 24 Apr 03 - 12:37 PM
Cluin 24 Apr 03 - 01:13 PM
Ebbie 24 Apr 03 - 01:23 PM
black walnut 24 Apr 03 - 03:31 PM
McGrath of Harlow 24 Apr 03 - 04:19 PM
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Subject: BS: SARS
From: John MacKenzie
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 03:44 PM

I'd just like to tell all our friends in Canada generally, and in Toronto particularly that we're thinking about them. Keep healthy guys.
Slainthe
Giok


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Beccy
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 04:42 PM

Yikes... they just documented a case near me a general suburban area of Rochester, NY. I guess the guy had travelled up to Toronto and was exposed by a Toronto native friend who had recently returned from a trip to Hong Kong.

We're thinking of you, for sure! Take care of yourselves and take your vities.

Beccy


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Burke
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 05:26 PM

How much is life being affected in Toronto? I have friends on the Village Harmony tour that is due to be in Toronto on Thursday & Friday. Are people avoiding public gatherings like concerts, etc?

To keep all this in perspective, according to the CDC:
Each flu season is unique, but it is estimated that approximately 10% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu, and an average of 114,000 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications. About 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 06:24 PM

There is a kind of funny story on the news today about a Canadian resisting quarantine. (It'll probably develop that he is from the United States)

TORONTO (Reuters) - A health-care worker who is probably infected with the deadly SARS virus could have put hundreds of people at risk after he refused to obey a voluntary quarantine request and became "obnoxious" and "threatening," Ontario health officials said on Monday.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Burke
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 07:02 PM

The Globe & Mail has an article. It would seem the nurse should have known better.

When public health contacted the man, who works at an unidentified downtown Toronto hospital, and told him he should have quarantined himself, he became "obnoxious, threatening and belligerent," Dr. Kassam said.

It's bad enough, I think there's no need to bash Yankees on this.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Ebbie
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 09:03 PM

Burke, I'm a Yank.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Sorcha
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 10:22 PM

I'm ignoring the whole thing. Oh well.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: mg
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 11:50 PM

Is this a natural virus? The timing is sort of strange. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Cluin
Date: 21 Apr 03 - 11:56 PM

Yeah, you'd think the virus would've had the good manners to hold off till CNN was done with the war cover(-over-)age at least, right?


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 01:53 AM

GOOD NEWS

TAMAFLU manufactored by Gilead Pharmaceuticals is an anti-viral for influenza which could prove effective against SARS.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Jeri
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 06:58 AM

Viruses mutate all the time. That's one of the reasons people who get flu shots, get a new one each year - the flu viruses have changed. Cold viruses do the same but colds aren't a big deal for most people. This virus just happens to be deadlier. Not that it couldn't have been developed as a bio-weapon, but that's the least likely explanation at present. You can aim weapons.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: black walnut
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 07:18 AM

Black Walnut, reporting to you from Toronto. Monitoring...no fever, cough due to allergies only. Off to work now. More later.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 07:35 AM

Pneumonia/influenza mortality in 1996 rate for the United States rate of 12.8 deaths per 100,000.
Data Sources: U.S. _ National Center for Health Statistics, CDC

Worldwide, SARS has infected 3,461 and killed 170, according to the World Health Organization for an approximate mortality rate of 5000 deaths per 100,000

In the Los Angeles area with 10 million people that would equate to 500,000 deaths.

Tamiflu is designed to prevent all common strains of the influenza virus from replicating. The replication process is what contributes to the worsening of symptoms in a person infected with the influenza virus. It is a neuraminidase inhibitor for treatment and prevention.

Look at their six viral lines of medications at http://www.gilead.com/wt/sec/advancet


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Burke
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 10:31 AM

Thanks, Guest. I was finding raw numbers but not the mortality rate on influenza. Your Los Angles figure would apply if everyone there actually got sick, right? Let us hope & pray it does not reach that proportion.

Mary, early on with SARS, I was hearing discussions on how many flu viruses originate in Southern China, as the SARS virus also seems to have. It a large populations of people living close to pigs & poultry provides a fertile area for spread of diseases & mutation of viruses. China has apparently had it since last fall, but they were not either acknowleding it internally or telling others.

It looks like the usual practices for protecting hospital workers is not adequate. This from the Globe & Mail.
Hospital staff working in Toronto-area SARS units will now be double-gloved and wear full face shields as concerns grow that the gear used so far has not been enough to protect health-care workers.

Also this Studies by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that, unlike most respiratory viruses medicine knows, the microbe behind SARS can survive up to 24 hours on inanimate objects, turning any surface into a possible point of disease transmission.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Forum Lurker
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 10:56 AM

Burke-SARS is, from what I've heard, much less infectious than most strains of flu. With less than 3,500 people infected since the beginning of the outbreak, I don't imagine it will become very epidemic.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 01:39 PM

IF it survives until FALL/WINTER we could expect a major epidemic in the Northern Hemisphere. Success in breaking its chain of contagion is racing a celestial clock.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: black walnut
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 02:34 PM

Forget the stats. SARS is not the flu. It's very serious. The hospitals are doing are doing their best to contain this, but as in most restrictions, there are leaks. Every newspaper's front page and every news programme on the radio includes the latest update on SARS. It's like listening for the weather report.

I and my loved ones have been affected by this outbreak in a myriad of ways, some minor, some major. Most of you do not live or work in Toronto. From a distance, it must seem like numbers and risks, but to me it's about the people I care about in my life.

* My father-in-law, bedridden from a stroke, is waiting for life-saving surgery - he hasn't even been able to see his surgeon since the beginning of the SARS restrictions. He is lonely; we are limited to only one family member per day to visit him at his residence.

* My niece's husband sits in worry on a park bench outside the hospital, not allowed to be with his wife during her weekly ultrasound- my niece is enduring a very stressful high risk pregnancy, with twins.

* I was unable to visit a music friend of mine (only 52 years old) when she was dying in hospital, and then, sadly, I was not able to go to her funeral last week, either, because I had a bit of a cough from allergies and didn't want to scare everyone.

* A friend's friend lost first his father, then a few weeks later, his mother, to SARS.

* Some of my friends are afraid to go on the subway, or to go out to a restaurant or a movie. I'm trying to keep living life around as 'normal' as possible, but you have to wonder if this is going to get better or worse. And if it just stays the same, that's bad enough.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Cluin
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 02:42 PM

Forum Lurker, you have heard wrong. SARS is VERY infectious. That's why those who have it or are exposed to it are being quarantined. This virus can survive on objects outside the body for several hours and some researchers believe it can be passed on through airborne means (that's why lots of people are wearing masks in public).

It's true that it has been lethal mainly for those with already compromised immune systems or respiratory problems like athsma, emphysema, bronchitis, etc. or those not strong enough to survive it (like the elderly, infants, etc). Reasonably healthy adults could probably expect to just be hospitalized for several days and leave in a much-weakened condition, several pounds lighter. Think the hospitals and staff could accomodate the vast number of patients they'd receive if this thing does become an epidemic? They are already advising people not to come into Emerg with flu-like symptoms now, in case they infect more people there.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: katlaughing
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 04:25 PM

I have just been reading up on this and haven't found too much mention of the economic ramifications, but from what I have read and heard it seems it is having a devastating effect on businesses, something I don't think has ever really been seen with influenza outbreaks, not on such a global scale.

One article from Canada said they now believe it can transmitted through sewage pipes, closed air spaces, and even on an elevator button. Health care workers who took precautions and wore regular masks were infected. They now have to wear TWO types of masks, gloves, and gowns, taking the outer ones off after seeing a patient.

One chilling thing I read said people are being told NOT to go to the hospital if they believe they are ill. They are being asked to stay at home. People are having all kinds of procedures delayed, as Black Walnut has pointed out.

BTW, Black Walnut, my daughter was confined to bed for 19 weeks with a difficult pregnancy of twins. It's tough on the mom to keep so idle and the dad to take care of her and everything else, but it really pays off when they are able to deliver healthy babies. I am sorry about your neice's husband not being able to be there with her for the weekly tests. May it all go as well for them as it did for my daughter and son-in-law.

Let's pay attention, people. This has an ominous, far-reaching feel to it.

kat


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Burke
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 05:00 PM

Black walnut, thanks for the report. I've been wanting to get a handle on the human face of this while so far it has been numbers.

So far, the human face for me has been knowing friends who may or may not be there later this week. Also there is a large Library Convention scheduled there for late in June. In both cases it's trying to answer the question of "Should we go," based on little concrete knowledge.

That there is so much that is unknown is a big part of the problem. We don't know if people are contagious before they show symptoms. We don't know really how easily spread it is. The CDC says 'close personal contact' but that's vague enough to mean about anything.

My hope for all people is that the severe restrictions on things like your father-in-law's wait for surgery & niece having to go to ultasound alone will turn out to have been unnecessary. Given how the news changes daily, I don't think the precautions being taken now in Toronto are over-reaction. My hope is also that a vaccine can be developed quickly.

My fear is that the genie is alreay out of the box, SARS will get worse and it will eventually spread world wide. Quarantines may slow it, but not stop it. We will have severe problems if they do not find out how to stop the health care workes from getting sick. Until there's a vaccine we have a lot to worry about.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 03 - 07:13 PM

From today's Financial Times of London



The worldwide death toll from severe acute respiratory syndrome on Monday rose to 209, with 3,896 infected.


The Sars virus has spread to 26 countries, with the highest incidence in China, and second highest in Hong Kong with 1,402 cases and 94 deaths.

The Philippines reported its first potential Sars death after a nurse visiting home from Toronto died of pneumonia-like symptoms last week.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Peg
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 02:12 AM

black walnut, sorry to hear about your loved ones. This disease does have greater danger for anyone with lowered immunity (the elderly or already sick, etc.), but still the mortality rate is a small percentage of the total, much smaller than influenza as has been pointed out. Here's hoping your loved ones get well soon, and you get to see them, too.

I am still tending to think there is an awful lot of panic being promulgated by the media with this...it sounds to me like the numbers are not dissimilar to your average flu outbreak, something we all await with trepidation each year because of mutation of viruses (I know, I know, this isn't a virus).

The latest update I just heard on the news is that this is droplet-borne, not airborne...and so not as communicable as the flu. So standing next to someone is not risky unless they sneeze or cough, or you touch them..and hand washing is still a good idea. Basic cold and flu season caution.

Has anyone heard what antibioitcs, if any, are effective? I am also curious to know if anyone has tried melaleuca/tea tree to prevent infection...or colloidal silver (both of these were the buzz in alternative medicine circles when everyone was panicking about anthrax)...and if so if this information has reached the medical establishment yet...


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: mouldy
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 04:36 AM

My other half has just returned to Shenyang in NE China. (About an hour's flight E of Beijing). He was home from 11th April until 21st April, which covers the 10 day incubation period of SARS. He (and us) is ok. He decided to get a couple of facemasks for his return and could not get hold of any. Boots the Chemists said that they could usually get them, had sold out, and had experienced warehouse problems so their deliveries weren't turning up. He was hoping that SAS airlines would hand them out to their travellers, as BA were reported to be doing.

The sudden "increase" in the reported cases in China didn't surprise him as he says the government usually lie about most things. He said the usual pattern was being followed - somebody got the sack!

Andrea


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: gnu
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 06:06 AM

Sad to hear about your loved ones and your woes BW. I wish Canada could learn from the US as to how to combat this problem. They have more than ten times the travellers, business or otherwise, that we have to the source countries, but have not experienced the rate of infection or death that we have.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Burke
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:17 AM

Peg,
SARS is a virus. Specifically according to the CDC: Scientists at CDC and other laboratories have detected a previously unrecognized coronavirus in patients with SARS. The new coronavirus is the leading hypothesis for the cause of SARS, however, other viruses are still under investigation as potential causes.

Admittedly from a distance, I have been trying to find the real information. It seems to me that the media swings between over-hype and possibly false assurances. It's not safe to travel to Toronto one moment & no need to cancel that conference the next. CDC SARS information
is constantly being updated with the latest information.

I think comparisons to influenza are useful simply because that's the main reference we have for getting a handle on it. It strikes me that saying one is worse than the other is not very helpful just now.

I don't for one minute believe the statistics coming from China. I think it is being way under recognized & as a consequence under reported.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Peg
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 12:19 PM

Burke; thanks for that clarification. I have heard so much conflicting information about this is recent weeks I can't remember the details of it all.

I see your point on how it is not wise to equate this with flu. My main reasons for using a comparison to influenza, even though these may not be similar afflictions, is in terms of what I see as the media panic surrounding SARS. My point was, the mortality from flu each year is probably greater, and like SARS affects those with compromised immunity more seriously than others, but for some reason this epidemic is being seen as far more serious. And i think par of that has to do with recent tendencies in the media to paint everything (except the casualties of the war oddly enough) with extreme colors in order to promulgate extreem panic and fear. I have not seen ONE story on SARS on the internet or TV news in which at least one picture of someone wearing a surgical mask was not prominently featured. It seems if we go more than a week without something out there to fear, the media feel they arent dying their jobs.

for example: Before SARS became an international problem, there were ridiculous headline stories trying to link the hijacker of the Achille Lauro to "terrorism in Iraq" simply because he'd been found there 18 years fater this crime was committed. Every headline had "terrorist" and "Iraq" in it. That may seem obvious, but in subtle ways these headlines work on our psyches and the effect is one of increasingly xenophobic paranoia, and the instilling of fear in places it did not exist before. Words like "terror", "epidemic", "nukes", "victims", etc. are all used in ways to play upon our emotions, even when such loaded words are not appropriate or even accurate.

I am watching the coverage of the Laci Peterson case; it does seem likely that her husband did it, but the way the news is covering this, they have already convicted him! I have seen a dozen different headlines mentioning the death penalty. The guy isn't even scheduled for a hearing yet! Much less been found guilty by a jury.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: katlaughing
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 04:16 PM

It'll be another OJ, Peg, he'll get off, even though everyone will know he did it. They even arrested him while he was driving! Ironic, eh?


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Cluin
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 04:36 PM

Well, the WHO (World Health Organization) has just come out with an advisory that all but essential travel to Toronto (in addition to certain provinces in China) be cancelled. T.O. Mayor Mel Lastman is spitting mad.... officially, that is... everybody in Ontario knows he is just plain mad anyway.

Call me crazy too, but I think there is a teeny bit more to the SARS threat than just media-hype, though.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Rick Fielding
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 05:16 PM

Ahhah, so you watched (or heard) that too Cluin? Mel, was apoplectic, and not only because he apparently had never heard of either Geneva, the WHO or the centre for Disease Control. This is doing SERIOUS DAMAGE to Toronto on a lot of levels. I don't think Mel has a clue what to do. I don't. Do you?

The hospitals are doing their best, but I think they're as confused as anyone. It's not a good time.

Rick


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:07 PM

This is an odd situation. I'm puzzled as to why the media are covering it in such a way as to induce a growing panic in the general population worldwide...unless they are just doing their usual "flog the leading story as long as it gets good ratings" bit, now that the Iraq war "miniseries" is pretty well over...

As for me, I've had a rotten cold with some fevers for the last 5 days, but I am on the mend. I don't think it's SARS, I think it's just a cold, but who knows? I don't think I've lost any weight.

In another aside I might mention this: I never get flu shots...and I virtually never get the flu either. I think flu shots are a crock. But if they make you feel safer, by all means get them.

I feel safer just keeping my immune system strong by using common sense.

I'll tell you one thing, Chinese restaurants in Toronto must be taking a beating these days.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:18 PM

LH you better make sure you don't have SARS harpy


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:24 PM

Yeah, well, I suppose...

I know several other people who've got colds right now too. It's not surprising, given the lousy weather we've had this spring. It was snowing again last night! (just a few random flakes drifting down for a short while)

It's kind of hard on the system when it keeps changing back and forth between winter and spring.

- LH


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Millennium Flu
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:28 PM

"...unless they are just doing their usual 'flog the leading story as long as it gets good ratings' bit" - got it in one I'd saw Little Hawk.

It'd be wrong to blame the reporters and such, they're just the footsoldiers. It's the proprietors and the advertisers. Don't care who they hurt.

Don't knock flu-shots. I had a really unpleasant dose of flu a couple of years ago, and since then had a flu shot, and it hasn't recurred. People always tend to say "flu" when they really mean a bad cold, bu it ain't the same animal at all. Even when it's not life threatening, you sill feel like you are dying.

Typically I wrote a song about it - The Millennium Flu. So I may as well put it here, to subvert the distinction between music threads and non-music threads:

                   a                                     G
      They call it the flu, but you don't fly,
                               F                            E
      just hang around, and wait to die -
                               a                               G
      it seems like time's just crawling by
                         F E                     a
      Millenium Flu, it's got to you.

                                       C                                  G
      When your body aches, your mouth is dry,
                            F                            E
      you cry for help, there's no reply,
                            F                                        G
      you pray to live, but you can't think why -
                      F E                     a
      Millenium Flu, it's got to you.

                   F               G                   C                  a
Now my head is so dizzy and my mind is confused
       F                   G                        C                   G   
my body feels so shaken and so worn out and used
                         F                           G
like I'd been drinking, getting stinking,
             C
and I just couldn't stop,
             F               C       G                         C               G
all the perils of the bar-room - and I'd not had a drop.

                                 F                      G                     C
      Well you may talk about the future, try to get me enthused
                        F                            G                   C                  G
      but the dreams I'm having lately do not leave me amused -
                        F                               G                                  C            a
      like, I've been there, and I've seen there, and I've been disabused.
                           F                              a                        F   G      C
      Nothing straightens out your notions like Millennium Flu.
                                  F                           G
      Yes, you can straighten out your notions
                                 C                           a
      while you're knocking back the potions
                  F                            G
      as you go through the emotions
                   a   G       C
      of Millennium Flu.

                They call it the flu, but you don't fly,
                just hang around, and wait to die,
                it feels like time's just crawling by -
                Millennium Flu, it's got to you.
                When your body aches, your mouth is dry,.
                you cry for help, there's no reply,
                you pray to live, but you can't think why -
                Millennium Flu, it's got to you.

Well I was standing on this palace, Oh so far from my home,
and someone said they call this the Millenium Dome.
We were up there, we were stuck there, with the world all around,
but I couldn't help but wonder, "Where's the way to get down?"

    Well you may talk about the future, try to get me enthused
    but the dreams I'm having lately seem to leave me bemused -
    like, I've been there, and I've seen there, and I've been disabused.
    Nothing straightens out your notions like Millennium Flu.

    Yes, you can straighten out your notions
    while you're knocking back the potions
    as you go through the emotions
    of Millennium Flu.

            They call it the flu, but you don't fly,
            just hang around, and wait to die,
            it feels like time's just crawling by -
            Millennium Flu, it's got to you.

                When your body aches, your mouth is dry,
                you cry for help, there's no reply,
                you pray to live, but you can't think why -
                Millennium Flu, it's got to you.

Then we were out there on the ocean with the stars up above,
and someone started talking of a summer of love.
we were rolling, we were strolling, and what more could be said
- then I got a sinking feeling, there's an iceberg ahead.
Sure there's no need for to panic, when you're safe on the Titanic
on a slowly tilting planet trying to stand on its head.

   Well you may talk about the future, try to get me enthused
   but the dreams I'm having lately do not leave me amused -
   like, I've been there, and I've seen there, and I've been disabused.
   Nothing straightens out your notions like Millennium Flu.

         Yes, you can straighten out your notions
       while you're knocking back the potions
       as you go through the emotions
       of Millennium Flu.

                They call it the flu, but you don't fly,
                just hang around, and wait to die -
                it seems like time's just crawling by.
                Millennium flu, it's got to you.
                When your body aches, your mouth is dry,
                you cry for help, there's no reply,
                you pray to live, but you can't think why -
                Millennium Flu, it's got to you.

January 1st 1999


It was my prediction about the 21st century - and it seesm depressingly accurate so far.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 07:56 PM

Very good lyric, McGrath. Well done.

Judging by how you describe the flu, I don't think I've had it since the 70's, but I have had a fair number of colds here and there. I find the best way to avoid them is to do a fair bit of walking outside every day in the winter, and breathe lots of fresh air...but my own laziness defeats the program sometimes, unfortunately.

One of the primary causes of winter illness is not getting enough fresh air, and breathing stale air inside buildings all day.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Jeri
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 08:05 PM

I don't believe the media is hyping this too much. So far, from the statistics the World Health Organisation has compiled (here), out of 2283 cases for which the outcome is known, 251 people have died. This is a mortality rate of 11%, and I believe quite a few of the people who've died have been adults with healthy immune systems. Although SARS doesn't seem to be THAT contagious, it IS that deadly.

I hope I'm wrong, but I think we may be seeing just the beginning. People ignore quarantine, people are afraid so they may not seek treatment even when the think they might have it, and people may be contagious before they get sick enough to think it's reasonable to seek treatment. Those folks hang around with other folks and they travel.

There's a healthy balance though, somewhere between apathy or denial and panic. I'm not ready to turn into a complete hermit just yet. The best bet is to keep up on what's happening, learn about the symptoms and how to protect ourselves without freaking out.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Burke
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 08:40 PM

I've been cruising around the web reading articles & trying to collect information. The Guardian has a nice Collection of Links.

From there I found several good articles in Time. Especially this one The Cycle of Death. It helped me see much better why early response is so necessary to limit spread of a virus like this.

The way to get people to be careful about the contacts that spread it, is to get them worried. Unfortunately it takes a fair amount of 'the sky is falling' to get our attention, including mine. If the spread is stopped in Toronto, some of the measures taken will seem to have been overdone. OTOH China did not react early & has even lied, helping to make the spread faster & more widespead in that country. We can see what inaction & delay will do, overreaction may be the better choice right now.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Cluin
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 09:34 PM

LH,

"This is an odd situation. I'm puzzled as to why the media are covering it in such a way as to induce a growing panic in the general population worldwide...unless they are just doing their usual "flog the leading story as long as it gets good ratings" bit, now that the Iraq war "miniseries" is pretty well over..."

You've stated many times that you don't watch TV. If you did you'd know that SARS has been leading the news in the Canadian media for about a month now. It was the top story more often than not during the height of the war.

Of course, it was never mentioned on CNN at all. That network had such tunnel vision, while still reporting nothing important about the war, just reinforced my already low opinion of the quality of their "journalism".


And Rick, no, nobody really knows what to do about the situation, other than what is already being done. But Wacky Mel's attitude doesn't help (does it ever?). If nothing else, our politicians can be good for a real laugh sometimes. I'll even miss ol' Jean when he's gone.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: harpgirl
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 10:11 PM

...I'm afraid that when it hits the third world countries such as Africa, we will see greater mortality rates...I agree with Jeri. It is a nasty virus and it KILLS people, but influenza kills people as well...


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Apr 03 - 11:34 PM

Cluin - I was going by the newspaper headlines, which I keep an eye on regularly. SARS has replaced the War in Iraq as the leading headline subject, ever since Saddam's statue was toppled in Baghdad (that being the entertainment climax of the War in Iraq miniseries...).

I occasionally see some TV one way or another, but I don't own one, and I don't seek it out, generally speaking. I'd rather Mudcat. It's more creative, I think.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: black walnut
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 07:44 AM

I think it's important to know the symptoms of SARS so that you don't start questioning every cold or sinus headache or cough.

"Symptoms of SARS:
Fever- a fever (measured temperature greater than 100.4F [>38.0C])
Headaches
General feeling of discomfort
Body aches
mild respiratory symptoms
and a dry, nonproductive cough"

I've heard that SARS feels VERY severe and acute when you get it...like being hit by a MAC truck, like you'll never breathe again. And some people never do. There are special places to go in Toronto for diagnosis. But if you're like Andy Barrie (CBC radio), you could end up sitting on a bench outside in the rain for 3 hours waiting to be seen at a SARS clinic - the clinic he went to doesn't have an indoor waiting area (that may be the norm, I don't know). Andy said that if he didn't have pnemonia going into this, he probably did after sitting out there on that bench.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Peter T.
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 09:08 AM

Hopelessly overblown -- the plague of fear, rumour, ignorance (check out Defoe's Journal of the Plague Year for early enlightenment).I would hate to be running a hotel or convention booking office in Toronto. yours, Peter T.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Little Hawk
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 09:30 AM

I see it pretty well the way you do, Peter. Check into the statistics for the influenza outbreak after the First World War too. This SARS thing is a flyspeck compared to that so far. We shall see how it goes.

- LH


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Peg
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 10:57 AM

Those are some good links at the Guardian site, thanks for pointing that out, Burke. Theer is at least one interesting editorial that views this all as so much panic-mongering...but then again that was written a couple of weeks ago. Things do seem to be escalating.

I still think the media is overdoing it, and that this is comparable to your oridnary flu epidemic in terms of mortality numbers, but perhaps the rate/percentage of infection _is_ something to be wary of. I hope Jeri and kat and others who seem to think this is the "tip of the iceberg" turn out to be wrong, but I worry they may be right, after all...I am really going back and forth on this one now...

People who are, like me, sick of media fear-mongering that seems to get worse every day may well be ignoring this so as to feel in some control over their lives...problem is, forewarned is forearmed ony works if one really does think ahead and act quickly...are we going back to the days of hoarding antibiotics? (not that there's any proof they work against this)

In fact, we do have some isolated cases of infection in the Boston area (first showed up at a daycare center in Newton, I believe, after one child returned from a visit to China); and near the beginning of the news coverage of SARS when it was still confined to Asia, a rumor started that there had been cases discovered in Boston's Chinatown (the media was suggesting at the time that travel would be a likely mode of spreading the disease to other parts of the world); the Boston Globe ran an article recently on how this rumor, even though it was totally unfounded, has all but decimated the restraurant trade in that neighborhood (around the corner from where I teach at Emerson). Now it turns out the same sort of rumor has affected London's Chinatown...

Best advice the public can be given now: stay calm and take care of yourself better than usual.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: black walnut
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 11:55 AM

My personal feeling is that if you don't overblow it somewhat in the media, you won't get people to take this seriously and to stay in quarantine for the full length of time required. I'd like us to keep this one from spreading. There are a lot of nurses and doctors working very hard to keep it that way, and I don't want to minimize their huge efforts by treating this thing too lightly. They are putting their lives and their families' lives on the line for us. They are working long hours under very difficult conditions. They are covering up and still getting the virus. Let's keep the physical impact of this illness in special hospital units, where it belongs, not out and about in the neighbourhoods. It's terrible when and if schools and nursing homes and other community gathering places get shut down because someone breaks quarantine.

I truly don't think that Toronto is a place to be shunning right now. I think we're doing the job very well at containing SARS. If the death rate is low thus far, let's rejoice, but let's not say that people with symptoms or in contact with them can just go wherever they want whenever they want to. I don't believe there is any real danger at this point to the public in normal situations. I am not afraid to go on the subway or to the mall or to a concert or restaurant or movie. I would be hesitant to go into a hospital treating SARS, though.

Does it spread easily? I was told that my friend's father who died of SARS got it just by lying in a bed near to someone with SARS (they were treating it at first as TB) for about 1/2 in the same hospital room. The friend's father did not have low immunity at the time...he was in for a heart condition. He got it within 1/2 hour, then died from it, and soon afterwared, so did his wife. That's sounds pretty contagious and serious to me.

I certainly don't think the way things stand now is worth troubling a whole city's and country's economy over, by shutting us down to visitors. I thank the medics for doing their darndest to keep us (ALL of us, not just those of us here in Toronto) safe from SARS. I hope the federal government will pour down financial rain upon our city.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: GUEST,pdc
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 12:33 PM

Two questions:

Can anyone imagine/understand why Canada has this problem and not the US?

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome: what's the difference between severe and acute?


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: black walnut
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 12:37 PM

I can't wait to hear the answers.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Cluin
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 01:13 PM

1.
bad luck.

2.
severe: harsh, extreme
acute: sharp, less than 90, not obtuse, not "round at the free end"


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: Ebbie
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 01:23 PM

One thing I never expected to hear in my life is "Stay out of the hospitals" but that is what spokespersons are saying. Makes me wonder:

#1- If I need surgery, where else do I go?
#2- If my husband/wife/child/parent/loved one needs surgery or has a heart attack or is in an auto accident, etc, etc, shouldn't I be with them?
#3- How do hospital personnel feel about this admonition?
#4- And don't they ever go home?
#5- How long is this directive supposed to be in force?
#6- By this logic, they should send everyone home and close the doors of each hospital; maybe then the phenomenon will disappear.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: black walnut
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 03:31 PM

More good questions.

~b.w.


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Subject: RE: BS: SARS
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Apr 03 - 04:19 PM

That set of symptoms Black Walnut gave us (see below) - they sound pretty like normal slightly-under-the-weather health to me. If everyone who feels like that assumes they've got SARS and presses the panic button, the statistics will go through the roof.

I'd take it that whoever produced that list meant was, if you've any reason to think you've been in contact with someone who's got it, those are the things to watch out for.

I was much more reassured by that second bit: "SARS feels VERY severe and acute when you get it...like being hit by a MAC truck, like you'll never breathe again." Though that could equally apply to a bad dose of flu.

But as springhopper points out, if/when it hits places in Africa's famine belt, God help them. Or Iraq. The flu epidemic at the end of the Great War killed more people than the war itself, they say - and that was very largely because millions of people were so worn out and under-nourished, and their immune system had been shot to hell. (Or as they'd have said in those days "their resistance was low").

"Symptoms of SARS:
Fever- a fever (measured temperature greater than 100.4F [>38.0C])
Headaches
General feeling of discomfort
Body aches
mild respiratory symptoms
and a dry, nonproductive cough"


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