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Kansas have long prepared for a foreign animal disease outbreak; instead, humans are the target.

P.J. Griekspoor, Editor

April 16, 2020

1 Min Read
Boy and girl wearing masks for protection from Corona virus.
FIGHT FOR OUR LIVES: Kansans have a long history of running drills and planning tactics to look down an animal disease outbreak. Now it’s humans at risk and we’ve already lost the containment battle. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Most oft-repeated terms get really tiresome. But I don’t recall one that left me about to scream as quickly as, “bend the curve,” or its alternative, “flatten the curve.”

We all know how important this grim task is, but “bend the curve” has such a trivial ring compared to how deadly this pandemic has become. It sounds like some kind of mathematical exercise, when “stop the dying” is what we really mean.

Related: Complete coronavirus coverage

Most of those in ag have been part of running the scenario of a foreign animal disease outbreak, and we’ve learned about the importance of “containment” to avoid the economic cost of “mitigation.” That’s especially true in Kansas where we’ve all heard Sen. Pat Roberts fight for research dollars to help us prepare for such a disaster.

His persistence led to the creation of the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University. It also, in large measure, fueled the call for building of the new National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility still under construction in Manhattan. Now we are faced with the reality of a pandemic, though it is humans and not livestock that are in the pathogen’s path.

We find ourselves past hope of containment. Now we are in the grip of “mitigation,” and the price tag it carries both in lost livelihood and human life.

Stay vigilant, my friends. Stay safe. You are in my prayers, and I hope you’ll keep me in yours.

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Covid 19

About the Author(s)

P.J. Griekspoor

Editor, Kansas Farmer

Phyllis Jacobs "P.J." Griekspoor, editor of Kansas Farmer, joined Farm Progress in 2008 after 18 years with the Wichita Eagle as a metro editor, page designer, copy desk chief and reporter, covering agriculture and agribusiness, oil and gas, biofuels and the bioeconomy, transportation, small business, military affairs, weather, and general aviation.

She came to Wichita in 1990 from Fayetteville, N.C., where she was copy desk chief of the Fayetteville Observer for three years. She also worked at the Pioneer Press in St. Paul, Minn. (1980-87), the Mankato Free Press in Mankato, Minn. (1972-80) and the Kirksville Daily Express in Kirksville, Mo. (1966-70).

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