Thursday, July 23, 2009

News people love a panic, a.k.a. Swine Flu Woes

In Fort Dix NJ, Feb 1976, there was a Swine Flu outbreak. Pres. Ford issued a statement that every American needed to be vaccinated before the fall flu season because of the chance that the already deadly strain would mutate. A few elderly patients died, possibly from complications arising from the rushed vaccine, and there were reported cases of Guillain-Barré syndrome (a rare side effect of modern flu vaccines). The public outcry against the vaccination program grew so great that the government halted the program altogether.
The vaccine killed 25 people, total. The flu killed one.
People completely lost their shit over a flu that killed one person. Because it was similar to the Spanish Flu of 1918, they automatically assumed it would go pandemic and kill everything in it's path. In this case the cure was worse than the disease.
I bring this up because of our own Swine Flu pandemic. Yup, it is a pandemic. That just means a certain amount of people around the world have been proved to have it. Total deaths at the moment are at 1,039. That's it. In a pandemic. The season flu can kill more people than that in the US alone.
But, the media tells me, the flu will mutate! In the fall! And kill us all! So we will rush through a vaccine! And everyone will have to get vaccinated!
And I say to the media, Hey! 1976! That worked well then didn't it?
We don't know that the flu will mutate. If it does, we don't know if it will get worse. We don't know if it will stay where it is now.
We also don't know how many people have had this strain, and thus if it mutates those people will have some immunity to the new strain. This flu is really astoundingly mild compared to other strains. It killed so many people in third world countries because they were third world countries.
I refuse to panic over this, no matter how much the media wants me to. And apparently they really want me to. I know a lot of people who have bought into the panic, and that is kind of sad to me. There are too many unknowns, and I refuse to panic over the unknown.
So I say to media, Shut up, and give us actual facts on this. Please?

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