Wednesday, July 15, 2009

10,000 to die!

Up to 10,000 people in NSW could die of swine flu in a two-month period - more than double the rate of all other deaths - unless there is mass vaccination.

So Joe Hilderbrand's "exclusive" in the Daily telegraph screams today. Don't go looking for it on the Telegraph's website though as it seems to have done a disappearing act over the day. This likely because the figures are based upon the worst known pandemic, that of 1918. Demonstrably this is yet to be anything remotely akin to 1918.

NSW chief health officer Kerry Chant said that story had derived its figures from a NSW Health action plan document that referred to a "hypothetical pandemic ... based on the 1918 influenza pandemic".

"It is not appropriate to use estimates from the 1918 pandemic to provide predictions for our current situation," she said.

Doesn't stop some news agencies though eh?

The outbreak of this particular flu is no ordinary winter visitation and nor should it be treated as such. It is a serious strain of influenza and, as such, is a marked threat - particularly to those with "underlying" conditions. Such scaremongering acheives little and certainly does not aid health agencies who are - evidently - stretched dealing with both the "normal" flu season as well as this vicious hybrid - not to mention "business as usual".



Anonymous Jacob said...

Yeah, there's a fine line between recognising the gravity of a threat, and not wanting to inordinately scare the horses (thereby causing economic disruption, etc.).

The fed Health Minister 'Our Nic' Roxon was today quoting a figure of 6K potential deaths -- but that was on the assumption of no special preventive measures or treatments being employed, which of course isn't the case. By comparison, there's on average around 1K flu-related deaths each season.

16/7/09 9:37 PM  

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