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Swine Flu! Git Yer Swine Flu Here!

Now. Nobody panic.

Remember last year's dreaded Swine Flu?

It was the next big plague, lurking on every door knob, subway pole, and toilet seat. The vaccine was a scarce commodity. People fretted over whether they would be lucky enough to get a shot of salvation, standing in line for hours, only to be told supply was gone. Hope was lost. It was just a matter of time before we would all be filling catacombs with our dead, duct-taping our houses.

Now, in stark contrast to the hysteria forced upon the world by the media, health organizations, and governments alike concerning the H1N1 virus, medical establishments and local governments can't even give the damn vaccine away.

From Chron.com:

Marco Torres stood on a busy road and waved an oversized yellow arrow with an unconventional message for a street marketing campaign: "FREE TODAY: H1N1 Flu Shots for All."

Local health officials launched the human billboard campaign at a time when health departments around the country are going to great lengths to spread the word that swine flu shots are available for free to anyone who wants one.

Their advertising tactics include horseback banners at rodeos and wristbands handed out at nightclubs. Maine officials set up a flu clinic at the high school basketball playoffs this week, while other health departments are giving patients shots at airports, malls and even a trade show.

The fact that clinics are practically begging people to get vaccinated is a dramatic shift from just a few months ago when people stood in long lines and waited -- sometimes for hours -- to get the scarce vaccine.

While the outbreak has waned, the virus is still circulating and authorities warn that another wave of infections could hit. The 2009 H1N1 flu strain was first identified in April and a second wave of illnesses followed in the fall. At least 15,000 people have died worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, most of those in the U.S.

The mass hysteria surrounding the outbreak of Swine Flu was another example of manufactured panic than actual fact-based concern. Media and governments from around the world "played on our fears," to borrow a line from resident alarmist Algore.

In the U.S., angst-laden reporting by a hyperventilating media served only to scare the bejeezus out of a citizenry which was already on edge due to years of negative campaign fear-mongering regarding a myriad of issues. The economic uneasiness felt by the nation, prodded on by Obama's incessant use of the word "crisis" to label most any aspect of reality, propelled a feeling of impending doom, gleefully drilled into our collective psyche by both Obama and a flailing press eager to increase sales.

Adding more agitation to the already over-hyped atmosphere of anxiety, in October of 2009, President Obama actually declared Swine Flu a national emergency. (At the time, there were 1,000 deaths in the U.S. attributed to the virus.)

For a bit of perspective regarding death from various flu strains, here are some historical reference points:

Spanish Flu (1918-1920): 50 million

Asian Flu (1957-1958): 1.5-2 million

Hong Kong Flu (1968-1969): 1 million

Asiatic Flu (1989-1990): 1 million

Influenza (Normal yearly world-wide): 250,000-500,000

H1N1 (2009): 15,000

Just to pick something unrelated to illustrate the absurd amount of hype afforded this issue, it is estimated that yearly there are 1.8 million envenomings (snakebites) which result in approximately 94,000 deaths worldwide.

What? No media frenzy? No emergency declaration?

Nah. Doesn't measure up to a good enough crisis for anyone to exploit.


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Comments (25)

Obviously the government's ... (Below threshold)
Al Cazam:

Obviously the government's program to stop this from becoming a serious epidemic succeeded. There were preventative measures, and people responded, and the vaccine of course helped stem the spread.

You'd be happier if many more Americans died, that's apparent. Sorry that you're so disappointed, Shawn.

Al,"You'd be ha... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Al,

"You'd be happier if many more Americans died, that's apparent. Sorry that you're so disappointed, Shawn."

Yup. You pegged me Cazam.

That's what the gist of this post is all about.

Freak.

I didn't say that was what ... (Below threshold)
Al Cazam:

I didn't say that was what the post was all about did I?

Since you're mocking the success of the program - it really did prevent an epidemic, didn't it - it's apparent that you would have preferred that the program had failed so that you could fault the administration.

In other words, if more people had died you'd be happier.

Is that not true? You're instead satisfied with the results as they are?

Even the number of 15,000 d... (Below threshold)
Wordygirl:

Even the number of 15,000 dead from H1N1 is extremely suspect. A very close family member of mine works in a large urban hospital. She has numerous stories of how the physicians and staff were under pressure to categorize all types of non-related illnesses and deaths as H1N1 due to funding. One patient came in suffering from pneumonia resulting from complications from diabetes, and viola! her death was attributed to H1N1 without even a blood test to confirm.

As usual, just follow the money.

Since you're mocking the... (Below threshold)
Shawn:

Since you're mocking the success of the program - it really did prevent an epidemic, didn't it

No, Al. It didn't.

When this hit and was speading along with the hysteria, there was a severe shortage of vaccine, world-wide.

Hence, it was not as serious as advertised.

(You sure sound familiar.)

"mocking the success of the... (Below threshold)
hvywgt:

"mocking the success of the program"

What, taking the media to task for hyping the flavor of the month is mocking a successful program? Play any event for all it's worth, give it a ominous title (Terror at the cesspool day 2) and you have your ratings.

Maybe Obama's programs did ... (Below threshold)
Hank:

Maybe Obama's programs did help prevent a pandemic. Admittedly, the vaccine being so late wasn't much help.

But with millions of newly unemployed workers, they really couldn't spread the flu as much as they would have if they could shop, go to work, etc.

Al CObvi... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:

Al C

Obviously the government's program to stop this from becoming a serious epidemic succeeded.

What's the basis for this assertion ? (other than the logical fallacy post hoc ergo propter hoc)

"...it really did prevent a... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"...it really did prevent an epidemic, didn't it...."

And just HOW do you prove that? How many were inoculated? What percentage of the population at risk did not receive the shot?

Just another lib who believes 'saying so, makes it so." (SEE GLOBAL WARMING)

I haven't seen any evidence... (Below threshold)
Al Cazam:

I haven't seen any evidence that suggests this particular vaccine was ineffective.

Vaccines are known to be effective in reducing the spread of the flu virus and saving lives. That's why millions of people get flu shots each year.

If vaccines in general are effective tools against the spread of the flu...

and this vaccine was just as effective at saving lives as the other flu vaccines that have been used...

ergo this vaccine helped halt the spread of the flu and saved lives, just as every other flu vaccine has helped stem the spread of the flu and saved lives.

At no point has Shawn suggested that flu vaccines or that flu vaccination efforts are ineffective.

He only points to the low death rate as in indicator that the flu program wasn't needed.

In other words, he's pointing to an indicator of the program's success to suggest the program wasn't needed.

It's the same as pointing to lower auto crash death rates in 2008 as compared to 1968 and thereby suggesting we no longer need seat belts in cars.

You're pointing to a success indicator to suggest that seat belts aren't needed.

I fail to see the logic in that argument, and I'm saddened that Shawn's viewpoint would be bolstered and his argument strengthened if more swine flu deaths had occurred. That's a pretty sad statement.

hank ..."But with ... (Below threshold)
Jeff:

hank ...

"But with millions of newly unemployed workers, they really couldn't spread the flu as much as they would have if they could shop, go to work, etc."

but the other 150 million workers managed to avoid spreading the flu as well ...

gee, maybe it would have spread if we were at 7.5% ...

I'm just afraid that the public will completely ignore the warning when its a zombie plague and then of course we'll be knee deep in zombies before you know it ...


If I recall correctly, 37,0... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

If I recall correctly, 37,000 people die of regular influenza every winter.

Remember how all this developed. The White House started pumping this issue like a bunch of children, with public relations announcements and advertising, portending the Doom of Western Civilization. The Feds threw an enormous amount of money at producing a vaccine, and at the peak of Doomsday, there still was no vaccine available. Then when the peak passed and demand for the vaccine dropped off, it was shipped out to doctors who didn't want it or need it.

But think of all the lives saved or created by the great H1N1 Stimulus.

The complaint isn't that we avoided the H1N1 epidemic, but that it wasn't all that serious to begin with, it was played to the hilt by Obama's political hacks, and he had almost nothing to do with heading off the epidemic. The vaccine distribution program, despite its cost, was a complete and utter bust, like most everything else the Obama White House has attempted.

But he's willing to take full credit for it, of course. Somebody's got to.

Vaccines are known... (Below threshold)
_Mike_:
Vaccines are known to be effective in reducing the spread of the flu virus and saving lives.

What's the efficacy of vaccines that aren't used ? Because I'm fairly sure that (the lack of use) is what the "street marketing campaign" is indicative of.

'Al Cazam' = recycled,warme... (Below threshold)
Dr Carlo Lombardi:

'Al Cazam' = recycled,warmed over troll.

Obviously the gove... (Below threshold)
Brett Buck:
Obviously the government's program to stop this from becoming a serious epidemic succeeded.

And it must also be a great tiger repellent! Look how few people the US have been attacked by tigers in the last 6 months. Another Obama triumph!

"At least 15,000 people hav... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

"At least 15,000 people have died worldwide, according to the World Health Organization, most of those in the U.S."

Eh? MOST in the U.S.?

This big bad flu didn't kill more in China or Mexico or somewhere else?

That does not sound correct.

Wg: "..physicians and staff... (Below threshold)
Les Nessman:

Wg: "..physicians and staff were under pressure to categorize all types of non-related illnesses and deaths as H1N1 due to funding."

That might explain it.

The Mexican Flu (AKA H1V1) ... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

The Mexican Flu (AKA H1V1) was mischaracterized from the start in that much of the population did have some immunity to it. Also, the relatively new tactic of vaccinating children first is one of the keys to stopping this or any other flu in its tracks. It turns out that children are the main vectors of flu, so getting them vaccinated early slows down the spread of the virus until more of the population can be vaccinated.

And as I predicted last summer, any genetic changes to the flu would tend to make it more contagious but less virulent. The most successful virus in the wild is one that spreads fast, but has minimal impact on its host, you know, like the common cold. This is particularly true for viruses spreading among humans because unlike other hosts, we are aware of the virus and understand how it spreads.

"And it must also be a g... (Below threshold)
apb:

"And it must also be a great tiger repellent!"

Best troll slam of the day! Of course, the troll's too stupid to know its been slammed.

Shawn's point is well taken - the whole episode was just another "hey, what's that shiny thing over there" disruption to keep the citizenry off-balance and uneducated on the scams perpetuated by the Douche and Congress.

Now we see the JE Douche administration getting its ass kicked as well as the media scum - algore's intarweb is the right tool at the right time. Just imagine - if there were no alternative to the MSM, we'd all be almost as stupid as...

as...

the resident trolls here.

al cazam = anon = steve gre... (Below threshold)
Drago:

al cazam = anon = steve green

Transparent.

Drago,I'm glad I'm... (Below threshold)
Chiaroscuro:

Drago,

I'm glad I'm not the only one here to realize that.

Don't forget about the Zhu ... (Below threshold)

Don't forget about the Zhu Zhu Flu. stopthepresses2.blogspot.com/2009/12/feds-zhu-zhu-pets-ok-zhu-zhu-flu-under.html

Best troll slam of... (Below threshold)
Brett Buck:
Best troll slam of the day! Of course, the troll's too stupid to know its been slammed.

Thank you! But it's hard to feel too good about it - with the current bunch, it's like shooting fish in a barrel. Doesn't seem sporting, somehow.

As early as summer 2009 the... (Below threshold)
RicardoVerde:

As early as summer 2009 there were already reports that the H1N1 was proving to be milder than normal flu strains.

The real purpose of the pandemic scare was to use the hysteria to make the final push for government takeover of health care in the US.

I noticed the other day a sports byline where two English soccer players were flying to the US for knee procedures. The next line was for a similar instance where a French league player was doing the same.

The H1N1 pandemic never mat... (Below threshold)
Jim Addison:

The H1N1 pandemic never materialized, it is true, and there is no evidence to suggest the immunization program had anything to do with that. But if it HAD mutated and become highly virulent and lethal, the vaccine would surely have slowed it down, at least.

The problem with these species-jumping viruses is their constant mutation. This is just a normal adaptation for the viruses, as their host populations develop natural immunities. The ability to jump species, and the harm they can do to humans if they do, is an accidental by-product of that adaptation.


Swine flus are different than the usual bugs of avian (birds for those of you in Rio Linda) origin. They don't make the jump to human nearly as often - the "annual" flu strains are always avian. But when they do make the jump, their unpredictability seems to cover a wider range of both severity and contagiousness.


So in some ways, swine flu is like the Power Ball lottery: the odds are drastically against you ever winning it, and in fact the usual case is that NO ONE wins it and the jackpot carries over, leading to the huge pots that generate lots of free advertising hype and great ticket sales. But sooner or later, somebody does win it.

.

This is the reason swine flu makes the contagious disease community freaky. They never know what it's going to do, so they urge we err on the side of caution. Most of the time this will be a waste, proven unnecessary in the end like this year or 1975. But one day, it won't be a waste, and no one has any idea how to predict which occurrence that will be until it happens.

The greatest danger is that the repeated false alarms inure the public to the potential risk. We begin to mock the government and the scientists for their frantic concern, and pass on the vaccines for future flu strains.

Shawn is correct the H1N1 never became the deadly threat early reports hypothesized it might. And because of this fact, the massive vaccine campaign wasn't needed. But this doesn't mean anything about the next "super-flu" strain, at all. The next one could be the one which might devastate the world.

Instead of dismissing the hoopla over H1N1, we should just be thankful it was overblown.




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