Tuesday, May 5, 2009

And the blind shall follow blindly

Having reflected for several days on recent developments I find myself not only disillusioned but actually disgusted with news of the H1N1 (swine) flu strain. The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have completely and unabashedly blown this health concern out of proportion. This has caused a wide-spread panic over much of the country and in places around the globe. For once I do not fault the news media for creating this panic as they are simply reporting what the two most prominent health agencies are continually feeding them.

A pandemic is described as an epidemic over a wide geographic area affecting a large proportion of the population. In the 1918 influenza outbreak 675,000 people died in the United States alone. If the population of the US at that time was 125 million people, that equates to .54 percent of the population having died. Conversely, there are currently only 380 cases of H1N1 in the US as of this morning. Based on a population of 300 million, that is .00012 percent of the population that is even sick. That is hardly a pandemic, much less an epidemic. It's not really even a hiccup. Virtually every sickness/illness in this country has more people affected than H1N1.

It is sad when any person dies from a situation where they have little or no control. And, it is the responsibility of WHO and the CDC to keep the population informed on a wide range of health issues, but it is also their responsibility not to create a panic. With people walking around in blue masks all over the country for no reason, they have completely failed in this task.

These medical organizations have fallen in love with the word pandemic. It has been used increasingly over the past two to three years when any new health issue arises. Everything is the next great pandemic. They continually tell us we are long overdue for a virulent killer. What they also fail to remember is the state of health care in 1918 paled in comparison to modern medicine. There were no drugs to combat infections, no vaccines nor the infrastructure to respond to wide-spread disease. Medicine was little more than what it was during the black plague. Today modern science has a host of resources and drugs to fight back against any rampant outbreak.

Unfortunately I must also blame the general public for being so afraid of their own shadows that they blindly succumb to panic situations. Not everything you hear on the news is correct and absolutely true to the extent it is told. It is time we learn to think for ourselves and use common sense.

Unfortunately common sense is not as common as we would like to think. Most would sooner kill the pig because they don't understand and won't take the time to learn.

1 comment:

  1. I must certainly agree with the above. So often, if something is hyped as much as this has, the end result is much less. It is almost as if everyone is hoping for something really awful to happen, and they hope they get the scoop on it first.