Here is an excerpt from a CNN story about an illness that was supposed to spread to pandemic proportions. It sounds eerily familiar. The illness is left blank.
U.S. poised for epidemic ___________.
CNN) — With summer waiting around the corner and mosquitoes beginning to buzz, the United States is poised for a third epidemic year of _________ experts warn.
“We had a huge epidemic in ____ and we told everybody that this is the biggest epidemic [of its kind] ever to occur in the Western hemisphere — and then the next year we have an equal one,” said Dr. Anthony Marfin, an infectious disease expert with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Fort Collins, Colorado. “Our concern is that it’s going to be like this every year.”
Dr. Daniel Blumenthal, head of community health and preventive medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia, agreed that the threat level this year most likely would be about the same as the last couple of years, but because of uncertainty surrounding the virus, “I would expect the unexpected this summer,” too.
In ____, human cases in the United States exceeded 9,800, more than double the previous year’s 4,156, according to the CDC. Blumenthal said the sharp jump in cases may be due to better recognition of ________ as an illness — not necessarily an increase of actual cases. The death toll, however, didn’t change dramatically: 284 in ____ compared to 262 in ___. Blumenthal explained that unlike illnesses which can escape detection, a death is thoroughly investigated, which may be why the death toll remained steady”.
This was a report on West Nile Virus. To hear this reported in the hysterical way it was would be enough to scare the bejeebus out of anyone. You’d think the Black Plague was regrouping for a knock out round.
Now, coverage of swine flu has reached pandemic proportions.
Here are some headlines from today:
- World Battles Swine Flu As Death Toll Rises
- Swine Flu Cases On The Rise
- Homeland Security: Obama Asks For $1.5 Billion To Fight Swine Flu
- WHO Urges Governments To Prepare For Swine Flu Pandemic
- Sick Crowd Emergency Rooms With Fears Of Flu
- Swine Flu Death Toll Rises Amid Angst In US
For some perspective, here is a list of some per-year statistics on death for some common reasons:
- Seasonal Flu in US: 63,726 deaths per year (174 per day)
- Smoking related deaths: 5,000,000 world-wide, 440,000 per year in the US
- Drunk Driving deaths: 16,000 per year in the US
- Death from Malaria: 1 million world-wide
- Deaths from 9/11: 2,752
- Deaths from global warming: 0
- Death toll in Darfur from 2006 to current: Approximately 400,000
- Deaths from moving vehicle accidents (non-drunk driving): 428,156
- Deaths from abortion: Approximately 1,700,000 in the US for one year
A little rational thought and a bucket of salt should be taken with every headline written or spoken about a situation like this.
The worse it is made to sound, the more people get sucked into it, and the more they’ll consume the blatant scare tactics put forth by everyone from politicians to editors.
Take a deep breath (with your safety mask on) and do what you believe is right.