Sunday, October 25, 2009

My husband's post on Swine Flu

President Obama has officially declared H1N1 a national emergency, and I'm left shaking my head and laughing at people that actually worry about this. Read the news, and you'll find headlines like "Over 1,000 Dead in US from Swine Flu," or - to tug at more heartstrings "Over 100 children Killed." These numbers mean absolutely nothing. One thousand out of how many? A report I read recently says "millions" of Americans have been infected. Really? Okay. Let's do a little math. For the sake of argument, let's say that only 1,000,000 people have been infected. With around a thousand dead, that gives H1N1 a mortality rate of 0.1%. To put that in other terms, you have a meager 99.9% chance of surviving swine flu! Well, in fairness, the headline did say "over 1,000." Let's go crazy and say by more than, they meant ten times as many. With ten thousand deaths, that brings the mortality rate to 1% and your odds of survival are now reduced to 99%. Remember, they're saying that millions, that's plural, have been infected. Forget about death for a moment. There have been a reported 20,000 hospitalizations. Again, numbers-wise, that's 2% of our proposed one million cases (even less in reality). Now, of these thousand or so deaths and tens of thousands of hospitalizations, how many of the infected had preexisting medical conditions that would make them more susceptible to complications from swine flu? What's that? No one seems to be taking that into account? But surely the media wouldn't just throw numbers out like candy for the sake of ratings...

Now, one hundred dead children is sad. Let us not forget, however, that during the 2003-2004 season, there were 153 deaths in children seventeen and younger forty states that were studied. Estimations give a grand, country-wide total of around 200 child deaths. That's twice the amount of what we're hearing now, but I don't recall a national emergency back then. Never mind the fact that the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (people that count flu deaths) include deaths from pneumonia in their flu mortality count.

While I'm talking about flu, please don't be foolish enough to get the flu-mist vaccine. This is not like the shot in that the mist contains a live virus. After getting it, you're contagious for a few weeks. Most people don't seem to know that one. In conclusion, there is no need to worry. Calm down!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you!!! This is a reality check for me! With Sophia being so fragile, I tend to freak out over the statistics and the kids who died instead of the actual numbers!!

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