May 04, 2009

Power-law flu?

FragileI can't resist bashing the WHO even when they in my opinion do things right: Practical Ethics: The flu paradox: is the WHO focusing too little on flu?

My basic argument is that the power-law like distribution of pandemics makes us likely to underestimate their potential sizes and underinvest in protection, so the WHO should take flu more seriously than they do (!). In particular, while fighting lifestyle illness might be the rational thing to do each year in terms of reducing expected mortality, fighting pandemics is the rational thing to do in order to reduce total mortality over longer periods of time.

Of course, I could be wrong about the statistical distribution of flu. More research is needed. Yummy!

Posted by Anders3 at May 4, 2009 07:33 PM