The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

The Epidemiology of CPAC Plague

Posted on | February 16, 2011 | 22 Comments

Moe Lane has been laid low by the mysterious post-CPAC illness that’s been going around among attendees of last week’s conference, but in fact there’s nothing mysterious at all about this malady.

If you gather 11,000 people from around the country for a conference, how many of the attendees are traveling by commercial aircraft? Suppose that it’s 5,000 and that, on average, each of them spent two hours on a plane with 200 other passengers. So these air travelers bring with them to the conference the germs of 1 million people.

Let’s further note that a lot of partying went on at CPAC. The lobby bar was packed until well after midnight every night, and the conference started at 9 a.m. every morning. So people’s immune systems were suppressed by alcohol consumption and loss of sleep.

In all, an event like that is a perfect storm for the spread of contagious disease. I managed to escape the pandemic, a good fortune I attribute to three main causes:

  1. I got enough sleep. Not eight hours nightly, but enough to keep from getting completely run down. On Thursday, I took a nap in the afternoon. On Friday and Saturday, I slept late. Lack of sleep is a major stress on the immune system.
  2. I blogged from my hotel room. Last year, the Internet connection in the Bloggers Lounge was atrociously slow. So this year, I set up my laptop in the hotel room I was sharing with Ladd Ehlinger, and did my blogging from there until the final few hours. I’d go out on expeditions around the conference to collect notes and photos, then return to the hotel room to blog it. This minimized my exposure to the Bloggers Lounge, which seems to have been Ground Zero of the CPAC Plague.
  3. I ate a good breakfast most days. Hunter S. Thompson, who engaged in more heinous substance abuse than any other journalist in history, was a firm believer in the value of a hearty breakfast. No matter how hard he partied, Thompson always began the day with a big breakfast. If it was good enough for Dr. Gonzo, it’s good enough for me.

Skye at Midnight Blue was the first to contract the illness I first described as CPAC Fever, and at that time I explained its origins:

This disease is caused by a rare virus known as schmooze and is spread through the promiscuous exchange of business cards.

Take two aspirin, hit the tip jar and call me in the morning.


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