Feed a frenzy, starve the fluPolicy

flu3Pandemic. Nightmare. Beware. The hype surrounding the swine flu keeps getting worse and has probably surpassed any story relating to Pamela Anderson. Having flown through a number of airports over the last week, I wasn’t harassed by TSA but I couldn’t avoid the news screens constantly berating us with the latest outbreak statistics and medical experts diagnosing the virus. Not only did I see dozens of travelers with gloves and facemasks, now at work I have to deal with co-workers taking multiple days off because their children’s schools are closed.

The numbers simply do not add up. So far, the Swine Flu, has been responsible for exactly one death in the United States who happened to be a Mexican child visiting the U.S. According to the CDC, 36,000 deaths are attributable to influenza each year. So on average, roughly 100 Americans die everyday because of the flu, yet all this media attention and government incurred costs is being diverted to a strain that is far less harmful? Is this the same government we want handling our healthcare?

  • Sherri

    Well, this past weekend both my daughter and I were sick. Both of us seemed to have a head cold (her’s worse) for about 24-48 hours, which in itself is a little strange because headcolds usually run a course of 9 days. Anyway, I also had the rolling stomach pains with it and…..well, you know. She also “sweated” it out of her the 2nd night. We didn’t contact a dr. because neither of us had a fever, but we both felt like sh*t for a couple of days. In my area, the media is reporting no “confirmed cases.” Might that possibly be because people like myself are not going to get checked out for just mild symptoms? My point is that there very well may be cases in my area, but because we’re not running to the dr., they are never checked out.

  • http://www.amit-singh.com Amit

    Sherri, sounds like you and your daughter are feeling better now which is precisely my point. All the hysteria surrounding this mild flu is unwarranted and distracts our resources from real problems. glad you’re doing better!

  • http://www.bearingdrift.com Brian Kirwin

    It’s the “hope and change” flu.

    You think it’s going to be something major, but in the end it’s not that different from the ones we’ve seen before.

  • http://www.littledavidobermark.blogspot.com/ LittleDavid

    Amit,

    I think the concern about the new strain of flu is because no one has immunity to it. A percentage of the population has immunity to previous strains. Previous strains mutate slightly from year to year, however some immunity still exists if you caught the previous version.

    Also, while previous versions of the flu were often deadly to both the older and younger members of our society, this new strain shows some evidence it could be deadly to those who have the healthiest immune systems.

    Even with the new strain, the older strains that we normally experience could still be passed around at the same time. So even if the new strain is no more deadly then the old, we might see 36,000 additional deaths from the new strain on top of the 36,000 we normally experience from the established strains.

    I think the cautious approach being taken by our health department is wise. With the end of flu season approaching, hopefully we will see a fall off in cases of the new strain just like we normally see in the older strains. Then we can monitor what happens in the southern hemisphere as they enter their flu season.

    No reason to panic, but their is nothing wrong with prudence.

  • http://www.amit-singh.com Amit

    LD, those contracting the swine flu are developing their immunity to it. Sherri above is a perfect example. its okay to take basic precautions (i.e. washing hands, not going to school if you are sick, etc) but the level of concern that has been raised is far too much.

    btw, a great book is: The Great Influenza by John Barry

    http://www.amazon.com/Great-Influenza-Deadliest-Plague-History/dp/0670894737

  • Steve Bierfeldt

    More people drowned in the bathtub last week than died from the swine flu.

    Your level of threat is completely tied to your level of health by how you eat, whether you exercise, and how you take care of your body.

    Go out and live your life.