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Running Against Time by Chris Pavey
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His family background passed on a profound awareness of the impacts of war. Like this: Like Loading Raymond Wilson permalink. Leave a Reply Cancel reply Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public. This is just a taste of the uncensored voice of McNeil's debut book; drawing on years spent covering other global scourges from malaria to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome AIDS to avian flu, sometimes he practically revels in challenging global health rhetoric.
At the same time, readers will find the personal, medical, and scientific content of the book Zika—The Emerging Epidemic lucid, even prescient, especially given the book's lightning-fast birth.
The spray trucks featured in so much television footage from South America were largely useless publicity ploys. Governments liked them because people found them reassuring. But against Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, relying heavily on street fogging was almost counterproductive: they bred near houses and slipped indoors as soon as they could following the carbon dioxide vapor trail of human breath. Hospital hallways, doctors remembered in Brazil, were lined with mothers who resembled ghosts.
They were in shock: mute, expressionless, bleak. Some were just teenagers. Some had ridden buses for hours …. And there were so many of them. One doctor from southern Brazil, where there was no problem, recalled visiting a friend's hospital in Salvador, not at all expecting what he found: 25 babies with microcephaly, all born in the previous 10 days. For many people—certainly many Americans—the scare may be brief: a vacation canceled, a business trip replaced by a phone call.
For some, living in tropical climates, it will mean months of worry: Worry that each mosquito might be the dangerous one. Worry that they had a silent infection. Was it my fault? Did I do everything I could to protect it? Will those family caretakers have the money? Will they have the patience?
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Will they have the strength? And will they not hate her memory for leaving them the burden? For a science correspondent, this is fearless prose indeed. So when will McNeil next forego sleep, race against time, and churn out another politically charged book about tropical medicine?
Running Against Time
Maybe he will tell us at November's annual meeting. But first, read this one. For years, you have resisted writing a book. So why this book? And why did you write it in May as opposed to 6 months later, when scientists would have known so much more about Zika? I have resisted for several reasons: I dislike selling myself. I have watched Times colleagues take unpaid book leaves and slave away for months or years and then look crushed when their books are not bestsellers. Also, near my desk is a giveaway table full of science books that arrive in the mail, and we throw there unread. I did not want to prostrate myself to publishers, lose money, and end up on that table.
I wrote this one because Norton's editor-in-chief called in April and asked if I would write a book by May to hit bookstores in June.
That was the deal: 30, words in 30 days or not a penny. That kind of assignment I can handle. In Zika-The Emerging Epidemic , you have revealed rare, behind-the-scene conversations between journalists and global health leaders. Tom Frieden, do you consult with sources or editors, or simply go with your gut?
If my editors had to vet my e-mails as well as my stories, I would never get anything done. Also, I do not usually need to be told what questions an average American wants answers to. Just because I live in New York does not mean I cannot think like a real person. But sometimes I can spot weaknesses before they are pointed out to me; the needle on my BS meter starts to flicker.
Please elaborate. That was in reference to the usefulness of the WHO as a wake-up call for some countries that a pathogenic threat is real. Most countries are governed by self-perpetuating elites. Most of the diseases I cover—AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis, polio, guinea worm, and all—hurt the folks at the opposite, powerless end of spectrum: the poorest poor, forest-dwelling tribes, sex workers, homosexuals, and all. Some diseases the elites ignore with impunity: no one in the capital scrambles the army to help the last village beat guinea worm.
But when a disease is transmissible enough to threaten rich and poor alike, alarms get raised. The elites can still send their pregnant wives and daughters to London or Paris to avoid mosquitoes, but they cannot really do absolutely nothing for the poor or they would face riots or military coups. Army officers sometimes come from rural villages and have some idea of how the poor suffer. Obviously, in the United States, we have relatively honest voting and pols eager to win reelection, so diseases do get fought, and sometimes the fights themselves create political power.
The gay rights movement, the sexual revolution, and the fight against AIDS all evolved together; gay men united and are now a solid voting bloc in some American cities. But gay men in much of Africa are still literally hunted. Beyond that, I hope two things: first, that it prods experts to openly debate a few questions like: Can mosquito control really protect pregnant women, or are we kidding ourselves?
Should women delay pregnancy?
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