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Gasping For Air:

The 1995 Haiphong Respiratory Virus Global Pandemic

 

 

By Chris Oakley

 

Part 5

 

 

From the May 24th, 1996 broadcast of ABCís World News Tonight:

The death toll in Afghanistan from Haiphong respiratory virus now stands

at eleven, according to spokesmen for the medical relief organization Doctors

Without Borders; this brings the overall body count from the ongoing HRV

epidemic to 857. These grim statistics are being reported just as the Centers

for Disease Control in Atlanta have confirmed the existence of a third strain

of the lethal virus, which was first identified a year ago in Vietnam and has

since spread across much of the rest of mainland Asia along with Australia,

New Zealand, and parts of the western United States...

 

From the May 26th, 1966 Wall Street Journal, editorial page:

At this point, it seems the only person in America who doesnít know that President Clintonís

political number is up is President Clinton himself. The HRV crisis has exposed him once and

for all as a lightweight grossly unsuited for the high office which was entrusted to him back in

1992; while there were many domestic scandals dogging his presidency before the virus came

to this country, and his management of US foreign policy is (at best)open to question, the HRV

epidemic will most likely be remembered as the straw that broke the camelís back. Not only is

he under fire from the Republican Party as a result of his approach to the HRV emergency, but

his fellow Democrats are deserting him in ever-growing numbers to support the surprisingly

effective write-in campaign being waged by supporters of Vermont governor Howard Dean. If

nothing changes in the weeks and months ahead, Dean may well become the first man in US

history to win the Democratic presidential nomination on write-in votes...

 

From the May 27th, 1996 broadcast of BBCís 9 OíClock News:

This afternoon, the World Health Organization confirmed that the worldwide death

count in the HRV epidemic has surpassed 930....

 

From the May 29th, 1996 Seattle Times, front page:

GLOBAL DEATH TOLL IN HRV CRISIS UP TO 978;

UNIV. OF WASHINGTON HOSPITAL VERIFIES THREE NEW HRV

CASES IN SEATTLE AREA

 

From the May 30th, 1996 broadcast of CBC News At Six:

Late this afternoon, it was confirmed by the UN World Health Organization and

the US Centers For Disease Control that the worldwide death toll in the Haiphong

virus epidemic plaguing much of Asia along with parts of the United States and

Canada for the last year has officially reached the one thousand mark. The deadly

respiratory virus, of which there are three known strains, is believed to have mutated

from a type of flu common to poultry, has so far defied all attempts at a cure or even

a treatment....

 

From the June 2nd, 1996 Sacramento Bee, front page:

US CONSULATE IN TIJUANA REPORTS POSSIBLE HRV OUTBREAK IN MEXICO

 

From a top secret report by the British Ministry of Defence to prime minister Tony Blair dated June 5th, 1996:

Our nationís interests in the Far East are being increasingly imperiled

by the Haiphong respiratory virus....

 

From the June 8th, 1996 Boston Globe, front page:

WORLDWIDE HRV CASUALTIES APPROACHING 1100; SIX NEW DEATHS

CONFIRMED IN MEXICO

 

From the June 12th, 1996 Daily Mail, editorial section:

WILL EUROPE BE NEXT TO FEEL THE WRATH OF HRV?

 

From the June 14th, 1996 broadcast of NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw:

The worldwide death toll from HRV is expected to top 1250 within two weeks, according

to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. The CDC also

reports that the lethal respiratory virus, which was first detected in Vietnam last May and

has since spread to dozens of other countries including the United States, has of late

been showing signs of extending itself towards the Middle East and possibly even

Europe...

 

From the June 17th, 1996 Chicago Sun-Times, page 2:

STATE DEPARTMENT ISSUES WARNING TO U.S. CITIZENS AGAINST VISITING CHINA

HRV risk deemed too great

From the June 21st, 1996 broadcast of Channel 9 Australiaís midday news:

In what may be President Clintonís last meeting in an official capacity with a

representative of the Australian government, Clinton held a closed-door session

last night at the White House with the Australian ambassador to the United

States for an update on how the global HRV epidemic is affecting Australia. In

recent weeks there have been persistent rumors that Clinton is to about quit his

campaign for a second term as President; there have even been suggestions he

may resign from office before the Democratic National Convention....

 

From the June 22nd, 1996 Washington Post, front page:

CLINTON DENIES ANY PLANS TO RESIGN PRESIDENCY

 

From the June 24th, 1996 New York Times, front page:

PRESIDENT TO GIVE TELEVISED ADDRESS TOMORROW NIGHT

HRV Crisis, Resignation Rumors To Be Among Key Topics

 

Excerpt of a televised speech by President Clinton broadcast June June 25th, 1996:

Contrary to certain allegations that have been irresponsibly tossed about by some members

of the media, I do not have any intentions of resigning the presidency before my term is

complete. Unless or until the American people choose to vote me out of office, I will keep

discharging the responsibilities entrusted to me as commander in chief...

 

From the July 1st, 1996 Toronto Globe & Mail, editorial section:

This year Canada Day will be a somber occasion; our country is faced with

one of the worst health crises it has known in a generation...

 

Excerpt of a transcript of an edition of NBCís Meet The Press broadcast two weeks after Clintonís June 25th speech:

Host: All right, cards on the table now....does anyone here think Clinton

will leave before his term is up?

Panelist #1: Not unless heís impeached or assassinated-- both of which

are very real possibilities at this point given the anger over his handling

of the HRV epidemic in this country...

Panelist #2: I would tend to think impeachmentís more likely. Even

without the cloud of the HRV crisis hanging over his head, he would

still be in trouble right now; I donít think itís much of an exaggeration

to suggest that his is the most scandal-plagued administration since

the Nixon presidency. Starting with Whitewater, everything that could

possibly go wrong for Clinton domestically has gone wrong....

Host: If I could play devilís advocate for just a minute here, the HRV

epidemic pretty much took everyone by surprise...

Panelist #3: That doesnít excuse Clintonís ineptitude in responding to

the threat of HRV. Many other world leaders have had to confront the

same problems as Clinton in regard to the HRV epidemic, and yet they

have been considerably more efficient in getting medical aid to their

people than Clinton has in this country. I frankly feel that for the good

of the American public, Clinton should relinquish the Oval Office this

minute...

 

From the July 11th, 1996 Washington Post, front page:

CDC TESTING EXPERIMENTAL HRV TREATMENT ON LAB MICE

World awaiting results of clinical trials as HRV death count passes 1400

 

From the July 13th, 1996 broadcast of NBC Nightly News With Tom Brokaw:

For the first time in weeks, President Clinton got good news on the polling

front in his bid for re-election. A CNN/Washington Post survey released last

night indicates that the steady decline in his approval ratings which has been

going on since the Haiphong virus reached this country has been temporarily

halted by the announcement of the CDC clinical trials for an experimental

HRV treatment; among some likely voters Clintonís approval ratings are even

starting to show a slight increase...

 

From the July 16th, 1996 New York Times, front page:

NEW HRV TREATMENT SHOWING PROMISE

CDC Expected To Begin Human Trials Shortly

 

From the July 18th, 1996 broadcast of ABCís Good Morning America:

What had first shaped up like a coronation for Bill Clinton in his bid for

Democratic re-nomination for the presidency, and then looked like the end

of his political career as criticism of his handling of the HRV epidemic in

this country mounted, is now showing signs of being a duel to the finish as

Clinton and surprise write-in challenger Howard Dean get ready to square

off at the Democratic National Convention. Clinton, whose poll numbers

had been steadily and sharply declining before the CDC announced trials

of an experimental HRV medicine that seems to have at least some effect

on the virus, is facing what most political experts agree will be the closest

balloting at a Democratic convention in at least a generation...

 

To Be Continued

 

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