UNICEF Highlights Global Increase In Measles Cases

From a March 1, 2019 press release,


NEW YORK, 1 March 2019 — UNICEF warned today that global cases of measles are surging to alarmingly high levels, led by ten countries accounting for more than 74 per cent of the total increase, and several others that had previously been declared measles free.

Globally, 98 countries reported more cases of measles in 2018 compared to 2017, eroding progress against this highly preventable, but potentially deadly disease.

Ukraine, the Philippines and Brazil saw the largest increases in measles cases from 2017 to 2018. In Ukraine alone, there were 35,120 cases of measles in 2018. According to the government, another 24,042 people were infected just in the first two months of 2019. In the Philippines so far this year, there have been 12,736 measles cases and 203 deaths, compared to 15,599 cases in the whole of 2018.

. . .


Poor health infrastructure, civil strife, low community awareness, complacency and vaccine hesitancy in some cases have led to these outbreaks in both developed and developing countries. For example, in the United States, the number of measles cases increased six-fold between 2017 and 2018, reaching 791 cases. More recently, the U.S. has seen outbreaks in New York and Washington state.

“Almost all of these cases are preventable, and yet children are getting infected even in places where there is simply no excuse,” said Fore. “Measles may be the disease, but, all too often, the real infection is misinformation, mistrust and complacency. We must do more to accurately inform every parent, to help us safely vaccinate every child.”

Firearms Commerce in the United States–Annual Statistical Update Reports

Each year the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives issues a report on gun commerce in the United States. This includes statistical information on the number of guns manufactured, imported, export, tax revenue raised, transfers, etc. I’ve mirrored the reports from 2011 through 2017 below because I don’t want to have to run down this information later.

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2017

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2016

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2015

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2014

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2013

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2012

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2011

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2001-2002

Firearms Commerce in the United States – Annual Statistical Update 2000

U.S. Army’s “How To Spot A Jap” Pamphlet

This “How To Spot A Jap” comic was included in the U.S. Army’s 1942 “Pocket Guide to China,” which it distributed to soldiers who were being sent to fight in China. Milton Caniff, creator of the Terry and the Pirates comic strip, did the illustrations.

Instructing people on how to distinguish Chinese from Japanese people was apparently a common theme of World War II-era propaganda. For example, the December 22, 1941 edition of Life magazine ran a feature titled How To Tell Japs from the Chinese.

 

Total Cost of America’s Wars

The other day I ran across a story about government spending that made me wonder how much the United States has spent on the numerous wars it has waged over the last couple centuries. Well, it turns out that in 2010 Stephen Daggett of the Congressional Research Service prepared a report (155k PDF) estimating the military costs of all American Wars beginning with the Revolutionary War and extending to the recent wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Based on Daggett’s estimates, U.S. war spending looks something like this:

 

Military Costs of U.S. Wars, 1775-2010

WarYearsTotal Cost (2011 Constant $)Peak Year of War SpendingWar Cost as % of GDP
in Peak Year of War Spending
American Revolution1775-17832,407 millionNA
War of 18121812-18151,553 million18132.2%
Mexican War1846-18492,376 million18471.4%
Civil War: Union1861-186559,631 million186511.3%
Civil War: Confederacy1861-186520,111 millionNA
Spanish American War1898-18999,034 million18991.1%
World War I1917-1921334 billion191913.6%
World War II1941-19454,104 billion194535.8%
Korea1950-1953341 billion19524.2%
Vietnam1965-1975738 billion19682.3%
Persian Gulf War1990-1991102 billion19910.3%
Afghanistan (includes all Operation Freedom actions)2001-20101,147 billion20081.2%
Iraq2003-2010784 billion20081.0%

Daggett notes a number of challenges with estimating total war costs. Although the costs are expressed in FY 2011 dollars, comparing costs accurately over such a long period of time is difficult at best. With more recent wars, what counts as a direct war expenditure has changed over time and so earlier wars such as Vietnam likely underreport their true cost.

On the other hand, even for current wars the dollar estimate is for ongoing combat and support actions and does “not reflect costs of veterans’ benefits, interest on war-related debt, or assistance to allies.” With the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, for example, some studies estimate that total veteran benefits costs will actually be large than the cost of the wars themselves.