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04/28/2003 Archived Entry: "Brad in Toronto"
The latest Mark Fiore cartoon "We Interrupt this War" neatly sums up the media approach to global affairs.
Tomorrow, Brad will be attending a conference in Toronto that is proceeding, business as usual, as all of the city seems to be proceeding with the exception of some affected hospitals. If I had the slightest qualms about the spread of SARS in Toronto, I would hide the car keys rather than let him go. There is no danger. There have been no new cases outside the medical community for almost two weeks. The most recent SARS Update that I receive as members of the emergency communication network reads, in part, "In response to the WHO advisory- Health Canada disagrees with the WHO's position and believe that it is safe to travel in Toronto. They challenge the WHO's assertion that Toronto is an unsafe place to visit, and will be making a formal protest through a letter to be sent today. The Centers for Disease Control in the US were invited to do an audit in Toronto, yesterday. Health Canada states that "CDC's assessment of the situation in Canada is accurate. It states that: "Currently, all cases in Toronto are linked to Toronto's original index case and spread has been through person-to-person contact. SARS transmission in Toronto has been limited to a small number of hospitals, households, and specific
community settings. Large numbers of high-profile public events and conferences continue to take place throughout the City of Toronto: the US National Association of School Psychologists and the Industrial Accident Prevention Association both held their conferences as scheduled in April with tremendous success; and, the 20th year of the Toronto Wine & Cheese Show had one of its biggest turn-outs ever."
Nevertheless, I keep reading reports and fearing broadcasts of how Toronto has been devastated by disease. I can't match any of the rhetoric to what I know from first-hand experience -- I suspect this is the case with much of what is reported as news . Some areas of Toronto *have* been devastated -- especially Chinatown, the 2nd largest in North America -- but not by SARS, instead by the hysteria being created by the media which keeps people out of restaurants and kills tourism. WHO hasn't helped. But there is good news on that front. "The World Health Organization has agreed to review its controversial decision advising against travel to Toronto, while the head of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says she believes the city is safe." Moreover, "The World Health Organization said today that the worst of the SARS outbreak appears to be over in Singapore, Hong Kong and Canada, while Vietnam has become the first country to contain the highly infectious respiratory disease." The problem remains China.
My column this week for FOX News, which will be posted onsite this evening, examines the UN's Oil-for-Food Program -- one of the most corrupt money-grabs on the globe. I am currently working with another online publication and may start writing articles for them as well...but more on this latter.