As many countries are downgrading H1N1 to a mild flu, when is the US going stop it’s fear mongering and follow suite? Finland did this months ago, Australia had only around 6% of the predicted deaths from H1N1, The UK had predicted 65,000 death, then downgraded that to 19,000 and now it says around 1,000 will die. So why is the United States still hyping up the “pandemic death toll” talk still? I would guess MONEY for their pharmaceutical buddies. Because we have learned most wealthy western counties are signing secret contracts with the pharmaceuticals that’s what the hype is about over here still. We don’t know a lot about the contracts because guess what? They’re secret, but we do know they exist in France and Poland because it was leaked.
Experts curb worst case swine flu scenarios
The 2009 swine flu pandemic may turn out to be the weakest in history. It is spreading more slowly than expected and the latest figures show a flattening, or even a dip, in new infections. It is mild in most people but severe in a few and, while it readily infects children, it appears to spare the elderly. With the vaccine being rolled out – more than four million doses have already been delivered – its impact should be further curbed.
So far in the UK, 154 people have died from the virus, around half of whom were under 45. In addition, 1,431 were admitted to hospital with swine flu last week. But in comparison with previous pandemics – or even seasonal flu epidemics – this is a relatively low toll.
In July, shortly after the World Health Organisation declared the first flu pandemic for 40 years, Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Sir Liam Donaldson, published a worst-case scenario suggesting the country should plan for up to 65,000 deaths.
That planning assumption has since been revised downwards twice, as further information about the behaviour of the virus has become available. In September the “worst case” was cut to 19,000 deaths, and in October it was cut again to 1,000 deaths. This compares with an average annual toll of 4,000 to 8,000 deaths from seasonal winter flu. In the last epidemic in 1999-2000, there were 21,000 deaths.
Previous pandemics have had higher death tolls. In 1918 Spanish H1N1 flu claimed an estimated 230,000 lives in Britain and up to 40 million worldwide.
In 1957-58, Asian H2N2 flu caused 1.5 to 2 million deaths worldwide and 33,000 in Britain. That was followed a decade later by Hong Kong H3N2 flu in 1968-69 which caused an estimated one million deaths worldwide of which 30,000 were in Britain.
So far, 2009 “novel H1N1” flu has caused 6,394 deaths worldwide, of which 154 have been in the UK.
Doctors say the key difference with seasonal winter flu is that it does not normally kill the young. Swine flu is worst among the under-fives, as happened in all three 20th century pandemics. The hospitalisation rate for the under-fives is four times higher than in older age groups. Pregnant women are also vulnerable. Experts say that even if the death toll from swine flu turns out to be significantly lower than in previous pandemics, it may feel worse.
Dr Steven Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, said: “I thought the original predictions for the number of deaths were incredibly high given the mildness of the illness we were seeing. Hospitals are coming under pressure but because the care is so good fewer people are dying.”
Dr Laurence Buckman, chairman of the British Medical Association’s GPs committee said: “The original government masterplan was for a maximum of 250,000 dead. But that was based on avian flu. It became clear that swine flu did not pose the same risk and slowly it has become clearer that it poses less and less risk. Compared with those earlier assumptions it is looking pretty tame.”