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How I Learned to Start Worrying and Forget about SARS

OK, so one of Your Humble Blogger's pet peeves is the way low-probability high-profile events become, er, high-profile, despite neither being particularly interesting or particularly noteworthy. Howard Markel and Stephen Doyle got cranky, too, and put this piece in the New York Times. For those of you without NYT registration, it's a sort of (ill-designed) visual representation of the actual health/epidemic worries in the world we actually inhabit, with 2 million deaths a year attributable to TB; 1,000,000 to malaria; and 353 to SARS (actually, 372 according to WHO).

Look, I'm not saying that the CDC and the WHO shouldn't be hanging out the bat-signal, it's just that if you don't live in China or Singapore, you shouldn't particularly worry about it. There were a couple of weeks were it looked both virulent and deadly to an extent that should cause concern, and now it looks like most people recover from it, and even the curves from a week ago give the appearance of something under control.

Whew, of course. Now can we pay attention to something that actually kills thousands of people, such as, oh, malaria or tuberculosis?

Thank you,

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