Op-Ed: Misleading political TV ads are filling up California’s ‘news deserts’
On Aug. 8, 2011, as part of a public awareness campaign meant to combat the nation’s obesity problem, the California Division of Health inoculated children from chickenpox with the newfangled “live vaccine” to help them avoid the disease. In the past, the disease would be spread by contact with the blood and bodily fluids of small animals, namely a cockroach or a dog. But with the Chickenpox Vaccination Program, the public health department sought to help kids avoid the risk of contracting chickenpox by inoculating them against a version of the disease that they’d not have to face in their daily lives. It was a small, but effective, effort.
But now, decades later, the fear is that something else is going on:
Over the past several years, there have been a handful of cases of a mysterious illness spreading quickly among California’s middle and high schools. The illness is named “Middle East respiratory syndrome” (MERS). No one can say for sure what causes it. But MERS is spreading, and there’s no vaccine available for it. There has been no official confirmation of the spread of MERS.
The disease has been identified as a type of coronavirus called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-Coronavirus. Some people are now calling it the SARS-CoV-2 virus and the disease it causes is a “new flu.” (The S stands for “SARS.”)
Some are calling the coronavirus “the first coronavirus outbreak of this scale since SARS.”
The World Health Organization says it could eventually kill thousands of people.
It appears that California schools are at increased risk of being a new epicenter for the coronavirus outbreak. In late 2016, the state’s Division of Public Health warned that it was investigating at least two schools for possible infections in recent weeks.
The State University of New York, where I teach, is also at increased risk of MERS, according to the New York Times.
If you have the coronavirus, or other communicable diseases that seem infectious, you’re at an increased risk of being tested and infected during the first few days of your quarantine as directed by local officials. You should make sure you are in a healthy