Gov’t prepares for H1N1 outbreak, ask you to give up more rights
There are reports out today that the government is bracing for a swine flu (H1N1) pandemic:
Swine flu could infect half the U.S. population this fall and winter, hospitalizing up to 1.8 million people and causing as many as 90,000 deaths — more than double the number that occur in an average flu season, according to an estimate from a presidential panel released Monday.
The virus could cause symptoms in 60 million to 120 million people, more than half of whom might seek medical attention, the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimated in an 86-page report to the White House assessing the government’s response to the first influenza pandemic in 41 years.
Although most of the cases probably would be mild, up to 300,000 people could require intensive care, which could tie up all those beds in some parts of the country at the peak of the outbreak, the council said.
“This is going to be fairly serious,” said Harold E. Varmus of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, co-chair of the 21-member council. “It’s going to stress every aspect of our health system.”
While I don’t underestimate the ability of a virus to evolve into something more concerning than it was six or seven months ago, I think it this overkill. As one expert talks points out, this is not a certainty, it is only a possibility. Yet, all people will hear about in the media is that 90,000 people could die from a swine flu pandemic.
That’s not to say there shouldn’t be concern or preparation, but we tend to give up so many liberties for just the mention of some perceived threat. We should be cautious, that’s all I’m saying.