NOVA Podcast: H9N9

A month ago, I realized that I had contracted H9N9. Rather than wait for death, I spent countless days and nights trying all sorts of ingredients and combinations. Finally, I found it. It was a miracle. And today, I’m ready to reveal my secret.



[Intro Music]

Robert: Welcome back to NOVA Podcast, your always reliable source for global health news around the world. This is Robert Wood, your host, live from Chicago. As of last week, the World Health Organization brought devastating news when it declared another quarantine to be erected, around Greece. This is now the 27 th quarantine that the WHO has ordered, all in hopes of preventing the H9N9 pandemic from spreading further across transnational borders. Today, we’ll be bringing you two features: a public address from Dr. William Carter, the World Health Organization’s Director-General, in Geneva, Switzerland; and a call with Mr. Mark Jacobson, the man who claims he has found a cure. First off, we’ll be hearing from our reporter John Smith, who is currently in Geneva. John, to you.

John: [Commotion of a busy room] Thank you, Robert. I’m standing in the lobby of the WHO headquarters. Inside the conference room, Dr. William Carter, the Director-General of the WHO, is currently finishing up his address. During the time of his inauguration, critics noted his poor credentials and questioned how effective his leadership would be. As they predicted, Dr. Carter’s inexperience has hindered his relief efforts for the H9N9 flu pandemic, an avian strain of influenza that has recently shaken the globe. Let’s step inside and listen. [door sound, background commotion dies down] Dr. Carter: …The World Health Organization has been doing everything in its power to provide swift and effective care to our partner countries around the world. However, in our battle against the H9N9 flu, we have deemed it necessary to enact new quarantines around the following
countries: Sudan, Egypt, and Syria.

Reporter 1: Dr. Carter, these countries have only reported 20 cases of infected citizens altogether. Yet, you have chosen them over higher-priority countries. China and Russia each have reported hundreds of cases of H9N9. Why have you not quarantined these countries yet?

Dr. Carter: Our goal is to protect the majority of our partnering countries. We have confirmed numerous cases of H9N9 in every country that we have quarantined. However, none of the cases in China or Russia have been confirmed by the World Health Organization, so there is no need for us to quarantine them. That is all for today. [background commotion of a crowd]

Reporter 1: Dr. Carter, Dr. Carter!

John: Back to you, Robert. [background noises fades away]

Robert: Thanks, John. Tensions have been extremely high, as citizens have lost faith in their government officials. Infected and non-infected have taken to Twitter and Facebook, searching desperately for a miracle cure. Recently, a certain Mr. Mark Jacobson from Australia has come into the spotlight. He claims that he has found a miracle concoction that can cure H9N9, and today, he is going to reveal his secrets. [slight pause] Good afternoon, Mr. Jacobson.

Mr. Jacobson: Hello, NOVA Podcast! Thanks for having me.

Robert: Our pleasure. Over the past two weeks, you have accrued quite the following on social media. Two weeks ago, you posted a video stating that you had tested your cure on various subjects, with a 100% recovery rate. How did you come up with this?

Mr. Jacobson: A month ago, I realized that I had contracted H9N9. Rather than wait for death, I spent countless days and nights trying all sorts of ingredients and combinations. Finally, I found it. It was a miracle. And today, I’m ready to reveal my secret.

Robert: I see. But there haven’t been any reports of H9N9 in Australia.

Mr. Jacobson: Uh…uh…just a few months back, I had been traveling around Europe…um…yeah… in Ecuador. And there, I caught the dreadful disease.

Robert: Traveling around Europe, you say, in Ecuador?

Mr. Jacobson: [hurriedly] Anyways, today, I’m going to reveal my secret! It’s extremely simple. Go to my website, at, and for a small price of $79.99, I’ll send you the recipe. Once again, just go to www…[beep sound effect]

Robert: We have lost connection with Mr. Jacobson. It is outrageous that he would charge his fellow citizens rather than help save the world! Anyways, thank you for listening to Nova Podcast. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter, and tune in next week for more news on the H9N9 pandemic. [in a loud whisper to the side] Hey Steve, get my credit card ready.

[Outro Music]

Acknowledgements: Special thanks to my guest speakers for their significant contributions: my mother for her roles as John and Reporter 1, and my older brother as Dr. Carter and Mr. Jacobson.


Image Credit: WHO HQ main entrance, Geneva, 28 October 2013, Thorkild TylleskarWikimedia Commons.

Alexander Zhu Written by:

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