Mildest Pandemic Ever?

Some are now predicting that the horrible swine flu, er, excuse me…..the H1N1 Flu pandemic (can’t call it swine flu anymore because the pork industry is getting its underwear in a bunch)  will prove to be “the mildest since modern medicine began documenting influenza outbreaks.”

 “A typical flu season is associated with an average of 36,000 deaths in the United States, and an estimate released in August by a presidential advisory panel that Lipsitch was involved in predicted that the 2009 H1N1 virus could kill 30,000 to 90,000 in this country.  ‘Those were the best estimates we could make at the time based on the data available at the time,” he said. “We now have much better data to make estimates from.’ ” -MSNBC

It’s being reported that around 4000 Americans have died from the H1N1 flu in 2009.   However, it’s difficult to put a real number on the fatalities as there appears to be no accurate count, just estimates.

A question remains as to why this was presented to the American public as though we were about to be subjected to a smallpox epidemic as opposed to a potentially serious outbreak of the flu.   Should the CDC give more consideration to context with regard to future “pandemics?”

I know it’s not possible to determine how any given virus is likely to mutate but this was a flu bug, not the plague,  and we are living in 2009 with modern hospitals,  I-V drips and antibiotics.   It’s not the same situation that existed in 1918.  Context is important.


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