April 2009 Archives

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"The Price of a Porcine Panic" (My article in Forbes.com)

By Michael Fumento

There's panic in the streets over a flu outbreak. "Projections are that this virus will kill 1 million Americans," the nation's top health official has warned.


"Evil has a new face . . ."

The virus is swine flu. But the date is 1976. And the projection, it turns out, is off by 999,999 deaths. Direct ones, that is. The hastily developed vaccine killed or crippled hundreds. Sadly, the current hysteria outbreak threatens devastation on a worldwide scale.

A calm perspective of the current outbreak of the virus now known as influenza A (H1N1) would compare it to seasonal flu. According to the CDC, the seasonal flu infects between 15 to 60 million Americans each year (5% to 20%), hospitalizes about 200,000 and kills about 36,000. That comes out to over 800 hospitalizations and over 250 deaths each day during flu season.

Keep reading here.

April 30, 2009 10:28 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Media

Mexico's swine flu death rate plummets

By Michael Fumento

A member of the World Health Organization (WHO) has dismissed claims that more than 150 people have died from swine flu, saying it has officially recorded only seven deaths around the world.

Vivienne Allan, from WHO's patient safety program, said the body had confirmed that worldwide there had been just seven deaths - all in Mexico - and 79 confirmed cases of the disease.

"Unfortunately that [150-plus deaths] is incorrect information and it does happen, but that's not information that's come from the World Health Organization," Ms. Allan told ABC Radio today.

"That figure is not a figure that's come from the World Health Organization and, I repeat, the death toll is seven and they are all from Mexico."


In fact, as of this writing, the WHO still lists confirmed Mexican cases at 26, not the 1,000 + you've been reading about ad nauseum. What's going on here?

April 29, 2009 07:39 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Media

Concerning an earlier flu panic . . .

By Michael Fumento

Swine flu panic purveyors will surely call me insane, evil, or both for trying to spoil their fun. I haven't looked but I assume they've already started. They will, as always, ignore my track record on heterosexual AIDS, Ebola virus, SARS, and avian flu - the last of which I slammed both during the first outbreak of hysteria in 1997-98 ("Chicken Little Gets the Flu" in the Wall Street Journal) and the second ongoing one. Let them. I just discovered that even the federal government now admits the first avian flu pandemic was "a panic."

April 29, 2009 07:20 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)

Latest Swine Flu case and death update

By Michael Fumento

As of now, 118 confirmed cases outside of Mexico in 8 countries, plus 215 unconfirmed in 25 countries. Only Mexicans have died so far, though I expect we'll soon see more in other underdeveloped nations.

April 29, 2009 12:25 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Media

NYTimes headline: "First U.S. Death From Swine Flu Is Confirmed."

By Michael Fumento

Um, actually a Mexican who came here for treatment. Same diff, huh?

April 29, 2009 10:41 AM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Media

Pondering Pig Flu Panic

By Michael Fumento

Tweeters have jumped out of the gates with all their sagacious advice, such as to not eat pork products, while I go the old-fashioned route and actually research the swine flu outbreak for an article. Remember articles? But since I know some people are interested in what I'm going to say, here's a preview:

As the outbreak develops, keep in mind that seasonal flu, according to the CDC, infects between 28 and 56 million Americans each year, hospitalizes over 100,000, and kills about 36,000. (The death figure is probably on the high side.) Did you bother to get vaccinated?

At this point there's no evidence swine flu is easier to transmit than seasonal flu or that it's more lethal. There have been no deaths yet outside of Mexico. All infectious diseases strike much harder in underdeveloped countries because the people are less healthy to begin with.

"Swine flu" simply means it has pig RNA mixed in. There's nothing inherent to it that would make it worse than seasonal flu. We've had a previous outbreak of swine flu; it killed one person.

True, we have no vaccine for this flu; but two years ago it turned out that the seasonal flu shot was ineffective - the equivalent of no vaccine. We're still here.

No, swine flu doesn't threaten to become "another Spanish Flu of 1918-19." Nothing does. Check your calendar; that was 90 years ago. Since then we've developed things called "antibiotics" as well as antivirals and other anti-flu medicines. In all flu outbreaks, including the Spanish one, the vast majority of deaths come from secondary bacterial infections.

Still scared? Wash your hands several times a day, keep away from coughers, and stay tuned.

April 27, 2009 08:50 PM  ·  Permalink  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer) ~ Media