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

This is all great, but the lack of FEAR and TERROR in the article doesn't help them sell more Tamiflu does it!

Nice to see some sensible perspective. 6 cases where I live. All from being in Mexico. All mild and recovered.

Media must be just waiting for things to turn nasty. As must the governments as a fearful people are a malleable people.
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In general, the nastier infections don't spread as well, being too likely to kill off their hosts. Ebola, for example; extremely nasty, but burns itself out quite quickly.
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I thought the problem was swine flu was killing young healthy people while the normal flu kills more but mostly older people or people with compromised immune systems.
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I ran my own simulation through Pandemic 2. It looks like the swine flu can pretty easily upgrade to encephalitis and we'll all be doomed to die. Unless Madagascar closes its port, the whole world will be infected.
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Snowmami: The big problem with the deaths in Mexico is that Mexico is an incredibly polluted city. Have a friend who did some work there and merely BREATHING is akin to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, and smoking compromises the immune system. The other thing I've heard from everyone I know who has been there is "Don't drink the water". So clearly we're talking a city with some health issues already, so it stands to reason the populace is generally more unhealthy than the average American city.

For the record, all the cases where I live have been in the age group it supposedly kills (20-40) and they've all been mild and recovered.
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This swine flu hype is so incredibly silly.

Bunch of idiots at work were all buying the crud spewed in the traditional media. If you want to be alarmed about something, how about motor vehicle related deaths.

Its a convenient distraction from what Democrats are doing in the Federal government. And of course it also presents well in the Press.
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Of course there needs to be an enourmous panic about swine flu. How is anyone going to take credit for saving the entire country/world from certain death (Close the borders! Wear a napkin on your face!! Don't ride the bus or subway!! Kill all the pigs in Egypt!!) if everyone knows there's less to worry about than any other day of the year?
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We don't know what will happen.. My co-worker who I had drinks with two nights this week has been sick at home with "flu-like symptoms" for two days and I started to feel ill late this afternoon. I plan to make a doctors appointment first thing in the morning.
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A few thoughts

#1, The CONFIRMED number of Flying Pig Flu infections is far lower than the actual number. This is even being reported in Albuquerque news. The CDC is only able to test around 100 samples a day and although New Mexico has at least 41 swabs to send, they have only been able to send 4, none of which have been tested yet. Also, because this process takes several days, once the results are known they are several days old. We can possibly presume that there are 10-25 times the number of actual cases, already to the expected 30 day mark in this article so its spreading faster than the author implies.

#2, Pandemic does NOT mean everyone DIES. We will very likely soon be at level 6, a full blown pandemic. There are also pandemic severity catagories, kind of like there are with hurricanes. Catagory 1 is just equivalent to the seasonal flu, Catagory 2 is equal to the Hong Kong Flu, Catagory 5 is the Spanish Flu that killed 20-50 million or more.

#3 Given the actual numbers and a bit of math, the seasonal flu death rate listed has a big problem. Even if just 5% of the USA got it and .24% died that would still be more than the listed 32,000 yearly deaths. Presuming a more likely 15% infection rate the actual death rate for 32,000 deaths is under 0.1%- a far cry from 0.96% as listed as normal.

#4 I am far more concerned about the government's response to this potential pandemic than I am about actually dieing from Flying Pig Flu. Historically governments have killed more people than pandemics, I can see no reason that our own is immune from such tyrannies.
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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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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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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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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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