July 05, 2009
Well, folks my blood pressure peaked again this week, and not because of Pailin’s resignation.
Did you see the UK Health Secretary’s pig-flu warning? Argentina’s weekly figures? The New England Journal of Medicine?
The UK is predicting 100,000 new cases of pig flu PER DAY by the end of August — that’s August THIS YEAR. As in 60 DAYS hence!!!! (Why don’t they say “by September” instead of “by the end of August”?)
They are predicting 40 deaths a DAY by “the end of September;” i.e. by October. Here’s a link:
The 40 deaths number is way, way low relative to the new cases number — it’s only 0.04%. I believe CDC estimates for flu death rates generally range from 0.5% to 2.0% of cases. Even the lower figure of 0.5% would mean 500 deaths per day in the UK. Don’t even want to think about the upper figure. Don’t even want to think about the US figures will be, but based strictly on population, the UK number converts to 500,000 new cases a day for the US.
According to the Independent article above, the UK govt has already cut off treatment for infected folks. If you have symptoms, you have to quarantine yourself and call the pharmacy, which can’t really do anything but send aspirin.
And you know how governments are. If the UK government is sending out this message, . . . well, you know it must be 5x worse than what they tell the public. Most governments, including Obama, are keeping the lid on this, but it’s coming up on us real quick now. I’m just glad the US has Homeland Security to get the country through this. Ha, ha, ha, ha. BTW, I wonder where Michael Brown is.
But the bad news continued last week . . . in Argentina, the number of new cases jumped from 1000 the previous week to 100,000 last week.
And there was more . . . the New England Journal of Medicine published the first analysis of the pig-flu cases in Mexico. This is probably the most detailed analysis of the new H1N1 demographics so far.
Similarities with the 1918 pig-flu pandemic that killed 50 million people (no one seems to have a number for the pigs) are what makes today’s pandemic scary. The 1918 pandemic also started off as little more than a whimper in the N. Hemisphere spring, smoldered during the summer, and exploded during the flu season. In 1918, the victims, both in terms of infections and deaths, were disproportionately young adults.
The Mexican study shows the same pattern. Normally, the bulk of seasonal flu infections (60%) and almost all deaths are distributed among those younger than 5 and older than 60, in fact, mostly older than 80. The age group 15- 44 represents only 8% of the seasonal cases. But the pig-flu cases in Mexico, 64% of the cases were in the 15-44 age range, which is similar to what people think the 1918 flu looked like. There are no accurate numbers for 1918.