Reply from the person who said "swine flu concerns are exaggerated?
I suspect that dwot was referring to me in her recent post "Someone said swine flu concerns are exaggerated?". I like reading her blog and I have a ton of respect for her, but I believe that she is way off base here.
The swine flu has been getting HUGE headlines and people were on CAPS talking about it as the next global pandemic that will wipe out a huge percentage of the population the day after the news broke about it.
I feel terrible for the people who have been impacted directly, or indirectly by this illness, but in reality the swine flu has had very little real-world impact...other than on Mexican tourism. We've come a loooong way since 1918. You can't compare the medical treatment that is available today and today's living conditions to what was available back then.
Back in 1918 I highly doubt that they began to evacuate schools until it was too late. Today they are closing entire schools if a single kid sniffles. Things like Purell, respirators, vaccines, etc... exist today that didn't exist back then.
Even most of the Canadian articles on the aboriginal outbreak that was referenced in the above post don't think that the flu is spreading that quickly:
Dr. Joel Kettner, chief provincial public health officer, said...that five to 10 per cent of Manitoba's population may already have been exposed to the swine flu, or H1N1, virus. He said this shows that only a tiny proportion of the population is contracting or becoming severely ill from the disease.
While the vast majority of people who have contracted the flu have not required hospitalization, the new swine flu seems to be hitting certain groups hard - aboriginals and people between 20 and 60, Kettner said.
The reason why people on reserves are contracting the flu is the unfortunate living conditions there:
First Nations leaders have said the scare at St. Theresa Point illustrates widespread concerns about pandemic planning for impoverished reserves where overcrowding in homes is common — heightening the risk a flu outbreak could spread quickly.
More than half of those on ventilators as of Monday were aboriginal. Native leaders have warned that poor housing conditions make it hard to prevent a contagious disease from spreading. One of the hardest-hit communities is St. Theresa Point - a fly-in reserve 500 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg where some two-bedroom homes house 10 or more people.
"It's not unusual to see a pattern where illness rates are higher amongst our First Nations and other aboriginal peoples, or amongst others that are disadvantaged by living, social and economic conditions," Kettner said.
I suspect that the mortality rate for aboriginal people in general is higher than it is for most other Canadians.
The swine flu sucks, but it's not going to wipe out even 0.1% of any country's population, let alone 85%.
This quote says it all:
Kettner tried to put the serious cases in perspective by stressing the vast majority of Manitobans exposed to the H1N1 virus will not become seriously ill...
It's way more than dozens (who will be exposed to H1N1), Kettner said. "We're talking about tens of thousands -- if not hundreds of thousands -- of Manitobans. It's only a small proportion of people exposed to this virus who are becoming ill enough to require hospital care...This isn't a cause for panic or for really any change in the approach to this problem.
The vast majority of the people with the worst living conditions in Canada will not even become seriously ill as a result of the swine flu...let alone die.
Every precaution should be taken to prevent the spread of the swine flu, but I stand by my earlier prediction that the people who believe that it will be some sort of global pandemic that wipes out millions of people are way off base.
Numbers of aboriginals in critical condition with flu surge in Manitoba
Flu cases requiring intensive care spike in Manitoba, first death in Quebec
'Toba aboriginals hardest hit by flu, says Kettner