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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

IS THE SWINE FLU PANDEMIC OVER?

Was there ever a true pandemic? Someone out there, please explain to me what is happening.


1. On June 11 of this year, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared that the H1N1 Swine Flu was, officially, a pandemic, the first time in 41 years that a global flu epidemic was proclaimed.


2. On October 16 I provided the latest on the H1N1 Swine Flu. To summarize, for the six months of "virulence," 375,000 had contracted the swine flu and 4500 had died. In this same period, 200 million got the regular flu and 200,000 had died. Thus, for every 500 cases of flu, less than one is that dreaded H1N1 Swine Flu.


3. On October 24, President Barack Obama made the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic a national emergency. According to the White House, it's designed to "allow hospitals to better handle the surge in patients" by allowing them to bypass certain federal laws. What?


4. Interesting timing, for a few days later, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that of 8,268 specimens tested by WHO for that week, 67% were confirmed to be the H1N1 Swine Flu. Something is wrong here, for less than one in 500 flu cases is of the H1N1 variety. Considering that the symptoms of both these ailments are nearly identical, how can WHO mostly analyze samples that turned out to be the swine flu? Anyway, it serves a purpose in scaring decision-makers. Click on those web pages and let me know what you think. AND, OH, BY THE WAY, IN ALMOST THE SAME BREATH, THE CDC ALSO SAID THAT, ACTUALLY, THE H1N1 SWINE FLU HAD PEAKED IN MID-OCTOBER AND WAS ON ITS WAY OUT.


5. SO WHY DID OBAMA DECLARE THE SWINE FLU A NATIONAL EMERGENCY?


Okay, many more will still get the swine flu, and some will die, but what kind of timing is that to declare a national emergency just before your guiding office reports that swine flu cases had already peaked? Yes, of course, children should get shots for both flu varieties and a sufficient quantity of vaccine should be made available as quickly as possible, if available. But the whole matter certainly sounds like an almost embarrassing case of poor timing.


In any case, if you do contract the flu, the odds are less than 500 it will be of the swine type. For adults, if you don't have breathing problems or a particularly weak heart, you should live. However, interesting that if you are obese, you might be in trouble. My June 29 blog on diets and longevity touched on why you should be only slightly overweight, for the really fat have higher medical bills even though they have a shorter life expectancy. You should know if you are overweight, but click on that blog page and calculate your Body Mass Index.

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The Dow Jones Industrials lost more than 100 during the final hour, but still ended up plus 30 at 9802. European markets were also all up, while those in the Orient dropped, with the Japan Nikkei now at 9697, lower than the DJI. Gold hit another all-time high, up $7/toz to $1089, and crude oil is just a smidge under $80/barrel.

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There is a small disturbance in the East Pacific and Tropical Storm Ida at 65 MPH will make landfall in Nicaragua, then, head for the Yucatan Peninsula, but there is no sign at this time for the attainment of hurricane strength.

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