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Swine flu about one-eighth as fatal as seasonal flu - and what it means for WHO's avian flu death rate

By Michael Fumento

With its updated estimate of how many Americans have actually contracted swine flu versus those actually identified, the CDC has given us a death rate of 0.012%. That compares to the seasonal flu death rate normally put at 0.1%.

Specifically, the agency estimated one million infections when 127 people have been reported dead. The official recognized case toll is 28,000, meaning the ratio of unrecognized to recognized cases is 35 to 1. Funny thing, though, that the WHO puts the death rate for avian flu H5N1 at 60% based on the presumption that there are NO unrecognized H5N1 cases. The CDC parrots this. This is especially curious given that where these cases are occurring, all in developing countries, you'd expect surveillance to be especially poor.

In short, the WHO and the CDC know the avian flu fatality rate is a crock and all those people making horrific estimates of death rates if H5N1 became pandemic (Laurie Garrett is worst, estimating that the entire world population will be infected and half will die) are either awfully dumb or malevolent.

And speaking of which, flu alarmist John M. Barry estimates in the Washington Post that swine flu will kill around 89,000 Americans. Actually, it may do so if swine flu just becomes another strain of seasonal flu. After many years it would eventually hit that 89,000 figure.

But Barry is saying 89,000 as a pandemic. Were we to limit the length of time when swine flu could be called pandemic to something reasonable, say 18 months, his estimate is ridiculous. How are you going to get there with a flu that's an eighth as fatal as seasonal flu when seasonal flu kills about 36,000 Americans a year according to the CDC.

Which is why his commentary was in the Post when they rejected my piece on the WHO's political science in labeling swine flu a "pandemic" that eventually appeared in the much-larger Los Angeles Times.

June 25, 2009 05:17 PM  ·  Diseases (other than AIDS and cancer)