Scientists: Swine Flu Milder Than Run-Of-The-Mill Winter Flu

If you've been watching all of the media hype, you'd be forgiven if you think that the swine flu pandemic will kill us all. But according to some scientists, it's actually much milder than your average run-of-the-mill flu that hit every winter:

The swine virus does appear able to spread easily among humans, which persuaded the WHO to boost its influenza pandemic alert level to phase 5, indicating that a worldwide outbreak of infection is very likely. And the CDC reported on its website that "a pattern of more severe illness associated with the virus may be emerging in the United States." [...]

But certainly nothing that would dwarf a typical flu season. In the U.S., between 5% and 20% of the population becomes ill and 36,000 people die -- a mortality rate of between 0.24% and 0.96%.

Dirk Brockmann, a professor of engineering and applied mathematics at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill., used a computer model of human travel patterns to predict how this swine flu virus would spread in the worst-case scenario, in which nothing is done to contain the disease.

After four weeks, almost 1,700 people in the U.S. would have symptoms, including 198 in Los Angeles, according to his model. That's just a fraction of the county's thousands of yearly flu victims.

Karen Kaplan and Alan Zarembo of The Los Angeles Times has more: Link

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You might be amused to know that there is a Swine Flu Cake Naming contest out there. The winner gets a chocolate pig.
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Oops, first line should read: The reality is that neither the media nor the government (with the exception of the gaffe-tastic Joe Biden) has been promoting ANYTHING BUT common sense and a relatively calm attitude about all this.
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The reality is that neither the media nor the government (with the exception of the gaffe-tastic Joe Biden) has been promoting common sense and a relatively calm attitude about all this.

No one has suggested personally stockpiling antivirals or wearing protective masks or gloves or staying home or closing schools/public gathering places willy-nilly.

There hasn't been any fear-mongering coming from any public official (again, with the exception of the spectacularly idiotic statements made by Joe Biden) or Roche or GSK at all.

Any hysteria you're seeing (like the ONE crazy lady in all of the millions of people who live in NYC and ride subways, buses and work in crowded office buildings who wore a mask -- probably for attention-seeking purposes more than anything else) is from a handful of individuals and a handful of irresponsible, highly biased, anti-pharma reporters who are trying to whip up some kind of ridiculous anti-viral shortage frenzy (hmmm...government alone has 50 million courses, WHO has millions of courses, other governments have millions and millions of courses, big corporations have millions, etc., and there are 330 confirmed cases outside of Mexico so far. Who's doing the math and coming up with a shortage here...??)

So pretending there's a huge public panic over this, or claiming the government/mainstream media/pharmaceutical corporations are deliberately trying to whip up mass fear and hysteria is actually doing the thing you claim everyone else is doing.

The individuals who are becoming hysterical over this are the same individuals who are hysterical about everything. If it wasn't this, it would be something else.

And the other thing I've been around long enough to know is the same people who are snarking about how this is all some big plan on the part of Roche and GSK to drive up sales would be the same people who'd be whinging and whining about how evil Big Pharma is if they WEREN'T ramping up production should the H1N1 virus come back as an exponentially stronger strain with exponentially more rapid spread during regular flu season.

I think you need to get outside in the real world and see that there is no panic outside the one you've created in your head so you could write a snarky blog post about people overreacting and governments and corporations fear-mongering for reasons of personal gain.

Big picture -- the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans, government agencies and officials, pharmaceutical corporations, schools, and regular Joe and Jane Citizens are hardly panicking or freaking out. If anything, they're bored with the whole thing already.
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I re-enter relevant parts of my comment of april 29 in the topic of the Swine-Flu t-hirt:

The Central Buro of Statistiscs in the Netherlands where I come from, states that yearly about 80.000 people get sick of regular flu and about 1.000 to 2.000 persons die. Most of these people are above 65 years old.
The first month of 2009 saw on average an extra thousand deaths caused by the normal flu.


The Netherlands is a well developed country with an excellent healthcare system and a population of a little over 16 million people.
It is my estimate that there will be comparable numbers in the US if you even out the numbers. And in that case how will the numbers for that ordinary flu stack up worldwide?
--- So here those US- figures are given and they confirm what I already said.

So again I ask- Only about 160 worldwide for this new kind of flu and then all the panic… compared to our yearly normal flu problem? I still don’t get it.
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