Tuesday, August 25, 2009

H1N1, The Y2K of Flu

Another pseudo-crisis not to be wasted. Despite the Obama administration's claims of 36,000 annual deaths from the flu, a little research shows that in recent years the number is about 64,000. Seems as though there is some good news inside the manufactured dark cloud. The Obama administration is claiming the H1N1 Swine Flu virus might kill anywhere from 30,000 to 90,000 sufferers this year.

Does that mean flu deaths stand a good chance of going down? Seems that way. Recent predictions about various threats with Biblical links have fallen flat. Global Warmists have been deeply disappointed by the unusually low number of hurricanes that Climate Change was supposed to whip up.

Of course the Chicken Littles developed a sense of shamelessness during the Y2K hoax. They devoted a couple of years to predicting a global failure of computer systems when the world's clocks ticked into the year 2000. But despite the predictions from of massive computer mayhem from "credible" experts, the new year dawned bright and sunny, without a single computer problem on the planet. However, some home computers refused to boot up that morning until it was discovered that owners had unplugged them.

Anyway, the Obama administration deserves credit for trying to raise the national anxiety level about something. It appears that spreading predictions about a fatal plague spreading across the nation is meant to stimulate interest in a government-run healthcare plan.

But the Obama team learned it must tread carefully or things can get out of hand. The Cash-for-Clunkers program is one example of a giveaway that was good news for some car companies. However, it was soon apparent that giving people a real deal can get too costly in a hurry.

The Obama team must have huddled after that one and brainstormed over how to create an issue that attracts massive interest but involves less money. Particularly money that is going to people who are in generally good shape.

A good strategy is to spread fear. It costs nothing to spread and after it takes hold, people want protection, which they might seek from their government. Hence, someone from Team Obama said it was time to predict the Hurrican Katrina of flu. The word went out. Expectations of mass death and societal disruption are now in the minds of millions.

Will Americans beg their government to save them from the H1N1 disaster they now believe is about to overwhelm the population? Does it matter? The arrival and impact of Swine Flu is like the weather, unpredictable more than a day or two in advance. Thus, no matter what happens, Team Obama will claim its efforts lessened the impact of a dangerous illness, even if getting flu shots results in an increase of deaths.

Hospitals May Face Severe Disruption in Swine Flu’s U.S. Return

Aug. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Swine flu may hospitalize 1.8 million patients in the U.S. this year, filling intensive care units to capacity and causing “severe disruptions” during a fall resurgence, scientific advisers to the White House warned.

Swine flu, also known as H1N1, may infect as much as half of the population and kill 30,000 to 90,000 people, double the deaths caused by the typical seasonal flu, according to the planning scenario issued yesterday by the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology. Intensive care units in hospitals, some of which use 80 percent of their space in normal operation, may need every bed for flu cases, the report said.

President Barack Obama was urged by his scientific advisory council to speed vaccine production as the best way to ease the burden on the health care system. Initial doses should be accelerated to mid-September to provide shots for as many as 40 million people, the panel said in a report released yesterday. Members also recommended Obama name a senior member of the White House staff, preferably the homeland security adviser, to take responsibility for decision-making on the pandemic.

‘Serious Threat’

“This isn’t the flu that we’re used to,” said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. health and human services secretary. “The 2009 H1N1 virus will cause a more serious threat this fall. We won’t know until we’re in the middle of the flu season how serious the threat is, but because it’s a new strain, it’s likely to infect more people than usual.”

Data from clinical trials to assess the safety and effectiveness of swine flu vaccines will start to become available in mid-September, health officials reported Aug. 21. Full results from the two-dose trials won’t be available until mid-October.

“We are making every preparation effort assuming a safe and effective vaccine will be available in mid-October,” Sebelius said today at the CDC’s Atlanta offices.

The president’s advisory council describes as a “plausible scenario,” that 30 percent to 50 percent of the U.S. population will be infected in the fall and winter. As many as 300,000 patients may be treated in hospital intensive care units, filling 50 percent to 100 percent of the available beds, and 30,000 to 90,000 people may die, the group’s report said.

“This is a planning scenario, not a prediction,” according to the report. “But the scenario illustrates that an H1N1 resurgence could cause serious disruption of social and medical capacities in our country in the coming months.”

Hospital Crunch

Peter Gross, chief medical officer at Hackensack University Medical Center in New Jersey, said if the group’s scenario comes true, “I think every hospital in America is going to be in a crunch. We’ll be hard pressed to deal with those predictions,” he said.

The estimates seem “overblown,” Gross said, given that swine-flu outbreaks in 1968 and 1957 failed to cause as many deaths, even with medical technology and disease surveillance less advanced than today.

“Influenza, you can make all the predictions you want, but it’s more difficult than predicting the weather,” Gross said yesterday in a telephone interview, after the advisory report was made public. “If influenza was a stock, I wouldn’t touch it.”


Blogger Jay Midnyte said...

It's just a way to mass vaccinate people.

9:54 PM  
Blogger no_slappz said...


I can count on you to turn well intentioned efforts into a conspiracy theory.

1:24 PM  

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