Friday, December 4, 2009

Putting your health Furst

I usually hesitiate from passing off another newspaper's opinion as must-read material. But this editorial from the Stockton Record is worth a glance.

It excoriates county public health officials, specifically Dr. Karen Furst, for being less-than-helpful in answering media questions about the H1N1 virus and communicating with the public about when and where the vaccine will be offered.

I've only personally dealt with Dr. Furst once, while researching a column about the real vs. perceived danger of West Nile virus. It wasn't the best interview I've ever had, but I imagine it can't be fun being pestered by the media for answers reporters could easily find elsewhere.

However, what I think is most noteworthy about this subjedt is not the Record's beef with county health, serious and justified as it may be.

What's striking about the H1N1 scare is that it has so far proven no more deadly than the common flu. Yes, it is a health concern, particularly because of the population it seems to hit hardest and because of its potential to mutate into a much more dangerous virus.

But it seems a lot of the media attention devoted to "swine flu" could be directed elsewhere. Say, like reminding everyone that we're still embroiled in a couple of very expensive wars.