May 13, 2019
Legionnaire’s disease is a severe form of pneumonia. It is on the rise nationally. A notable case is the state of Michigan. In 2018, the number of confirmed cases in Michigan rose to 633, a 67-percent jump from 2017. Thirty-two people died.
Legionnaire’s bacteria live in improperly-maintained water systems. During the Flint water crisis that started in 2014, Legionnaire’s disease killed 12 people.
In 2014, the state-appointed city manager of Flint cancelled an essential treatment for the city water lines. Lead poisoning of the entire city’s water supply resulted – and bacterial contamination as well. Ten of the 12 deaths were linked to stays at a hospital in the city.
Legionnaire’s is another canary in the coal mine, signaling the dangers of cutting off funds for public welfare. The disease is easily controllable if water systems and central air conditioning systems are properly maintained.
But it takes money, and all the money is being drained into the bank accounts of the already-too-wealthy. The federal government showers the wealthy with tax breaks, tax credits, and 1001 ways for the rich to get richer. The states and the cities do the same. Less and less money is put toward the actual basic needs of society.
So, money has to go back into the system for the public welfare.
And it’s not only in Flint. Diagnosed Legionnaire cases in 2018 were in 51 of Michigan’s 83 counties. Nationally, 7,500 cases were diagnosed in 2017, over five times more than in 2002.
The wealthy and their government cannot be allowed to refuse to fund public health and safety. They are pushing infrastructure to higher levels of danger everywhere.