MICHAEL FUMENTO says that the avian flu threat is exaggerated. I certainly hope he’s right, but it’s worth pointing out that most preparations for avian flu will also be valuable in the event of other dangerous epidemics. And the argument that no such epidemics are likely in the next couple of decades seems to me to be rather weak. How would we know? It also seems hard to argue that we’re overprepared for disasters generally. So while short-term planning aimed specifically at avian flu may not be as important as we thought a couple of years ago, overall planning for public health (and other) emergencies is still in a sad state.

UPDATE: Fumento prefers this link to the version of the article with hyperlinks that’s on his website. He also stresses that he never meant to say that no epidemics are likely in coming decades — and I never meant to suggest that he did. Just to be clear on both points.