Malaria? Really? With the potential for a Trump v. Sanders presidential election, the death of a Supreme Court justice, and the Washington Capitals with the best record at this point in the NHL season in the history of the NHL, and the most interesting topic I can find to blog about is malaria? I mean, hasn’t malaria been eradicated? Do you even know someone who knows someone who’s had malaria? Not me. So, how can this possibly be an interesting topic, enough to grab my attention when so many other things are going on around me? Well, for starters, according to the World Health Organization, half a million people died from malaria last year. While the trend is downward, WHO reports that more than 5 million people have died from malaria in the last 10 years. There were 214 million cases of malaria globally in 2015 alone, equivalent to about 2/3 the population of the United States. Still not interested? OK, then consider this. While historical malaria data are difficult to obtain, a survey of about 50 countries shows that the incidence (total number of new cases per year) and deaths from malaria increased close to 10-fold between 1962 and 1997. NOW, do I have your attention? Good, let’s go.
I got interested in this topic because a friend of mine sent me this article called The Truth about DDT and the Silent Spring by Robert Zubin. It turns out that, during and soon after World War II, DDT was very successfully used to basically eradicate malaria from large swaths of the world. In South America, DDT reduced the incidence of malaria by over 90%. India saw a reduction of about 98%. While not fully eradicated, malaria had been greatly reduced around the world and was clearly on its way out. DDT was saving literally millions of lives. Then, in 1962, Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, which made myriad claims, completely unsupported by science, about the health and environmental risks of DDT. Subsequent scientific and environmental studies confirmed that, when used appropriately to control malaria, DDT was safe and, importantly, the benefits far outweighed the risks. Silent Spring was debunked. Indeed, the WHO still recommends its use. But, the damage was done. I will not repeat the history as Zubin did an excellent job with it in the linked article above. Pretty please read it.
The liberal onslaught against DDT following the publication of Carson’s book led to the near total elimination of the chemical. Soon after the EPA was formed (one of the darkest moments in US history) in 1970, DDT was banned. US aid agencies threatened to cut off aid to developing countries that continued to use DDT. And, guess what happened? People died. Millions and millions of people died who would have lived if the appropriate use of DDT had continued apace. The global incidence of and mortality rates from malaria skyrocketed starting in the mid 1960s.
So, why write about this now, years after all this damage has been done? Indeed, thanks to recent research, deaths from malaria have finally started to decline again, but not until after nearly 50 years of increases and needless loss of life. I write about it to point out yet another case of tragic liberal hypocrisy. Liberals pretend to want to want to help those less fortunate people in the world. Instead, their eradication of DDT led to loss of life that dwarfs the number killed in the holocaust. Worse yet, look at the demographic distribution of people killed by this liberal initiative. The vast majority of malaria deaths are poor people. With friends like liberals, who needs enemies?!
The other reason I bring it up now is the current liberal ranting about gun control and gun deaths. About 11,000 people are killed by guns in the US each year. 500,000 were killed by malaria globally last year. That is, liberal environmental policies killed about 50 times more people around the world last year alone than were killed by guns in the United States. You tell me where we should focus our attention.