Published On: Thu, Feb 11th, 2010

Swine flu: How a mild virus turned the world upside down

How come we’re not inundated with news reports days and night about the horrors of the swine flu pandemic anymore? Could it be that the media and government entities have figured out that the citizens don’t really buy the hysteria?

Why would a relatively mild virus that gives a normally healthy person body aches and a fever for a few days cause such a worldwide panic? As a matter of fact, studies in Peru have shown that up to 33% of people infected with H1N1 were asymptomatic.

The H1N1 virus that we know now started in Mexico, and Mexican and world health authorities at first look thought they were dealing an extremely dangerous H5N1 avian influenza (bird flu). That would definitely be a concern. It was later discovered to be what we know as H1N1.

This highly-magnified transmission electron micrograph (TEM) depicted numbers of virions from a Novel Flu H1N1 isolate. Image/CDC

So why the panic? It is my belief that the World Health Organization (WHO) changing the definition of what is a pandemic was a great impetus. Prior to the emergence of swine flu, the WHO’s definition included “enormous morbidity and death”. In April 2009, the definition of a pandemic was changed to a “sustained” transmission in at least two different parts of the world at the same time and dropped the “enormous morbidity and death” clause. That is critical!

So since the declaration of a pandemic by the WHO last summer, fewer than 15,000 deaths have been attributed to this virus worldwide, with the vast majority of people having an underlying condition like asthma or diabetes. And this is merely a fraction of seasonal flu deaths annually. Evidence coming from the Southern Hemisphere at the end of their winter suggests that the swine flu is indeed infectious but not particularly deadly. Australians estimate that they will have fewer deaths than the usual 1,500 from their seasonal flu.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have said that it is much milder that previously thought. Dr. Marc Lipsitch, professor at Harvard has stated that “It’s probably going to be the mildest pandemic on record”.

Did the WHO have an agenda? I’m not sure, however some are saying that the WHO were in bed with the vaccine manufacturers. They needed to revive the “silent contracts” they had with the companies. German doctor, Wolfgang Wodard, chairman of the Council of Europe Parliamentary Assembly Health Committee calls the WHO’s false pandemic “one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century”.

I don’t know if accusations of this sort are true, but I do know that several European countries are trying to sell overstocks or cancel orders of vaccine. For example, France said it wants to cancel 50 million of the 94 million doses it originally ordered due to oversupply. What happened? Only 5 million out of a population of 65 million French got vaccinated. Did the nations of the world get pressured into buying too much vaccine by global health entities?

Not only did the media (by announcing every death attributed to this virus every hour on the hour) and the WHO overstate the pandemic but governments and citizens also overdid it, willing to give up there own or someone else’s liberty.

In the United States, President Barack Obama declared the flu a national emergency! The government said that this would help with the allocation of resources to battle the pandemic. However, on closer examination, declaring a national emergency gives the government some intrusive and sweeping powers. According to a Congressional Research Services (CRS) delegations or grants of power by the Act authorize the President to meet the problems of governing effectively in times of crisis. Under the powers delegated by such statutes, the President may seize property, organize and control the means of production, seize commodities, assign military forces abroad, institute martial law, seize and control all transportation and communication, regulate the operation of private enterprise, restrict travel, and, in a variety of ways, control the lives of United States citizens. Furthermore, Congress may modify, rescind, or render dormant such delegated emergency authority.

Scary stuff considering we are talking about a flu strain with a fatality rate of well less than 0.1%.

In Canada, the citizens were generally giving government permission to do just about anything according to one poll. Half of Canadians polled thought that health care workers that don’t show up to work without a legitimate excuse should be fired or lose their licenses. 85% said government has the right to suspend individual rights during the H1N1 pandemic. And what I found most shocking, one half of those surveyed agreed that violating a quarantine order was equivalent to manslaughter! Wow.

In the opinion of this writer, the H1N1 influenza was mostly hysteria. I’m not just saying this in hindsight, I wrote about this several times on my infectious diseases web site starting May 3, 2009.

I hope we the people learned something from this expensive, potentially restrictive hysteria. I hope in the future the CDC, WHO, President, drug companies and the media will be more responsible about stirring the citizens into a panic. Yea right….

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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