It doesn’t take much to create a new industry. Basically, all you need to do is create fear. Create a threat, an enemy, and then offer a solution to eliminating that threat and vanquishing the enemy, and… voilà, you have the beginnings of an industry. It doesn’t matter if any of it is true. You have the essentials of what is required to give birth to an industry and, eventually, a market.
Some industries are created when you invent a new product that people feel they need. Think of the iPhone, or smartphones in general. Other industries are created when you invent a need for which people feel they must have a product to fulfill it. Think of President Kennedy’s challenge to put a man on the Moon by the end of a decade (the 1960s).
Now, think of Zika. Before this year, very few people had ever even heard of the Zika virus. Now, practically everyone in the world knows about Zika and believes that the primary cause of babies being born with shrunken heads (microcephaly) and brain damage in Brazil is that their mothers were bitten by the Zika-carrying mosquito while they were pregnant.
Why does everyone believe that? Because public health officials at the U.S. Centers for the Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and National Institutes of Health (NIH) say so.1 Forget that these federal health agencies have provided no solid scientific evidence of a causal relationship. That’s beside the point. It’s the CDC and NIH.
We are being asked to overlook the fact that the theory that Zika causes microcephaly has all sorts of gaping holes in it and2 that there are at least three reports or studies by organizations in Latin America, which have raised serious questions about the Zika-microcephaly link. These independent sources either have proposed another cause of the microcephaly cases in Brazil or have failed to determine a causal link between Zika and brain disorders.3 4 5
Because the CDC and NIH have proclaimed it so, the Zika virus has been accepted to be one of the greatest threats to humanity in a long time. Last year, Zika was an obscure and relatively harmless virus known to produce no symptoms in the vast majority of those who contracted it or only very mild symptoms in a minority of those infected. CDC officials said so.