Thursday, April 30, 2009

Skeptical about the 'flu?

The American media is going nuts. Crying wolf. Or should I say, crying pig?

Most 'thinking' humans are skeptical. They contend that

(a) America is known to have a hyper-active media. The media always tends to hype things up. When the media says we're all going to die, it does not mean it. It is a slave to its ratings.

(b) Good ol' normal influenza kills 100 people per day on average. The swine 'flu cannot hold a candle to it. This is all misplaced concern.

While these points of view are indeed not without merit, we would do well to remember the great pandemic of 1917. The Spanish flu killed anywhere between 20 Million to 100 million people around the world. (No, this is not a typ0 - almost one third the population of Europe was wiped out). And this was caused by a virulent strain of the influenza virus. The single most deadly event of the previous century. And arguably the largest death toll by any single incident. Clearly, 'flu is serious business.

Perhaps the immense death toll of the Spanish flu would be enough to justify the media fear mongering. Staying on the safe side, after all. While this does convince me that some amount of fear-mongering is indeed warranted by the popular media, I would still like a few clarifications.

1. Does this swine disease have a larger probability of morphing into something like the Spanish 'Flu, than does a normal influenza virus? If it does not, then all the hype is but pointless.

2. Why isn't the original spanish 'flu still around, if it was so successful?

3. Why are deaths being reported only in Mexico? Is it because the disease is far more widespread than acknowledged? This would appear to be so, since so many people who have traveled to other parts of the world from Mexico have contacted the disease. If the number of sick people in Mexico were only 2000, then the probability that so many tourists caught the disease is very, very low.

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