A few years ago, I used to write for Examiner.com. I wrote about public health and epidemiology, and I was paid one penny per click. That is, for each new and unique person that visited my page there, I got paid one whole cent. One whole cent! Anyway, I stopped writing for them because the leadership began to hire writers that wrote about conspiracy theories, alternative medicine, and other such nonsense.
Before I stopped writing, I wrote an article criticizing a physician from Stanford University for a number of inconsistencies in an op-ed piece where he said that the H1N1 pandemic was not a pandemic. It was, and I displayed all the available information on it to counter his claims. Before I published the article, I emailed him for a response. Here is his response:
“It’s true that I’m not an epidemiologist; on the other hand, you’re not a writer.
There are a couple of things YOU don’t know:
1. I didn’t select the headline (title) of the article; mine was “The Pandemic That Wasn’t.” The article was made available to a number of newspapers via a wire service, and each outlet selects its own headline. I expect you to clarify that in your online posting.
2. The WHO’s premature and unnecessary declaration of a pandemic was more than a “mild inconvenience” — witness, for example, the slaughter of all the pigs in Egypt — which makes your airplane analogy poorly chosen.
I don’t consider your comments to be “insolent”; I think “snide” would be more accurate. It’s the kind of over-compensation that one often sees from people who have master’s degrees but were not able to obtain doctorates.
Don’t bother responding to me; I’ll delete it unread.
I asked my wife if I should email him back, three years later, and ask him if we may discuss this again once I finish the DrPH program. She said I shouldn’t. I think she’s right. I shouldn’t argue with people who don’t know what a pandemic is. It can get crazy.
René F. Najera, DrPH
I'm a Doctor of Public Health, having studied at the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health.
All opinions are my own and in no way represent anyone else or any of the organizations for which I work.
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