Is the swine flu another case of health officials 'crying wolf,' a test of their emergency system in preparation for something else, a cover-up or even a hoax? According to the World Health Organization, "Influenza is a highly infectious disease caused by a very unstable virus...annual epidemics are thought to result in 3-5 million cases of severe illness and from 250,000 to 500,000 deaths...The greatest public health concern lies in the tendency of Influenzavirus A to change suddenly and markedly, either through mutation or through the exchange of influenza virus genes or through the transfer of whole virus between host species into novel, genetically distinct subtypes...The result is the sudden appearance of a new virus strain to which populations may have no immunity and against which no existing vaccine may confer protection" (WHO 11/26/02, 111th Session, item 5.8).
The WHO notes that the 1918 pandemic killed some 40-50 million people and that a "likely" new pandemic would kill around a half-million people in industrial nations alone. Now, let's take a look at the following numbers regarding the current swine flu, H1N1. Keep in mind, that by the time you read this, the numbers will surely have changed.
-- THE UNITED STATES: The number of confirmed cases of swine flu in the United States rose to 111 spread across 13 states, health officials said (THE NUMBER OF STATES IS NOW 22).
-- CONFIRMED INFECTIONS: Thirteen countries have been affected in addition to Mexico. According to the World Health Organization: The United States 91, Mexico 26, Canada 13, Germany 3, Britain 5, Israel 2, New Zealand 3, Spain 4, Austria 1.
The following countries have also announced confirmed cases: Costa Rica 2, Netherlands 1, Peru 1, and Switzerland 1.
- NATIONS WITH SUSPECTED INFECTIONS: Argentina 3, Australia 114, Chile 24, Colombia 59, Denmark 5, Finland 1, France 41, Ireland 3, Italy 20, Japan 1, Poland 2, Portugal 1, South Africa 1, South Korea 4, Sweden 5. (c) 2009 AFP
Everyone knows that WHO alert level has been raised to a level 5, 6 being the highest. But in looking at the history and the numbers, is this justified? We are looking at only a few hundred cases on a worldwide basis. In the United States alone, the annual seasonal flu kills 36,000 according to the CDC. Why all the fuss over the politically incorrect 'swine flu?' Is it possible that the high alert is just a test of our emergency systems? If so, why now and why over a flu? Is it possible that we are not being told the entire story and if not, what is really going on? Is it possible that Vice president Joe Biden actually meant what he said but that he was not supposed to let the 'pig out of the bag?' What does he possibly know that we do not? Or, as some have suggested who are really into conspiracy theories, is this just a ploy to get more money for the pharmaceutical industry or a way of diverting attention away from issues like the economy and climate change?
The numbers do not match the response. Either we are being kept in the dark about what is really going on, or someone is playing a very expensive and dangerous game. I am not a big fan of wasting taxpayers' money on often wasteful and usually fruitless Congressional investigations. But in this instance, someone needs to look into this and let the public know the truth about what is really going on. Cry wolf, a cover-up, a test, a diversion? You be the judge, but it is time to ask the questions.