The Pandemic Is Political

By Michael Fumento, October 16, 2009
Copyright 2009 The Independent Journalism Project

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The WHO’s “razorback” has proved to be more of a Piglet.

As evidence continues to mount that swine flu is more of a piglet than a raging razorback, why isn’t curiosity mounting as to why the World Health Organization declared it a pandemic? And definitions aside, why does the agency continue to insist we’re going to get hammered? The answers have far less to do with world health than with redistribution of world wealth.

Medically, the pandemic moniker is unjustifiable. When the sacrosanct World Health Organization (WHO) made its official declaration in June, we were 11 weeks into the outbreak, and swine flu had only killed 144 people worldwide — the same number who die of seasonal flu worldwide every few hours. The mildest pandemics of the 20th century killed at least a million people worldwide. And even after six months, swine flu has killed about as many people as the seasonal flu does every six days.

So how could WHO make such an outrageous claim?

Simple. It rewrote the definition of "pandemic."

A previous official definition (and widely used unofficial one) required “simultaneous epidemics worldwide with enormous numbers of deaths and illness.” Severity — that is, the number — is crucial, because seasonal flu always causes worldwide simultaneous epidemics. But in May, in what it admitted was a direct response to the outbreak of swine flu the month before, it promulgated a new definition that simply eliminated severity as a factor.

That’s also how we can have a "pandemic" when six months of epidemiological data show swine flu to be far milder than the seasonal variety. New York City statistics show it to be perhaps a 10th as lethal.

In Australia and New Zealand, flu season has ended, and almost all cases have been swine flu. Yet even without a vaccine, these countries are reporting fewer flu deaths than normal. (In New Zealand, that’s just 18 confirmed deaths compared with 400 normally.) Swine flu is causing negative deaths! The best explanation is that infection with the milder strain (swine flu) is inoculating against the more severe strain (seasonal flu) it has displaced.

This all makes sense once you realize that swine flu isn’t some sort of alien from outer space as we’ve been led to believe, but rather "the same subtype as seasonal A/H1N1 that has been circulating since 1977," as the BMJ (formerly the British Medical Journal) observes. It’s "something our immune systems have seen before," echoes Peter Palese of New York’s Mount Sinai School of Medicine.

The older you are, the more you’ve been exposed and the higher your immunity level — hence the need to give two swine flu vaccinations to those under age 10.

Nevertheless, because WHO dubbed this a "pandemic," vaccination plans, emergency response measures and frightening predictions have been based on comparisons with true pandemics that by definition were especially severe. That includes the August report from the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology with its "plausible scenario" of "30,000 - 90,000 deaths" peaking in "mid-October."

“A pre-fab pandemic! Why didn’t I think of that?”

Check your calendar.

So, then, why did WHO do it?

In part, it was CYA for the WHO. It was losing credibility over the refusal of avian flu H5N1 to go pandemic and kill as many as 150 million people worldwide, as its "flu czar" had predicted in 2005. Around the world, nations stockpiled antiviral medicines and H5N1 vaccine.

So when pig flu conveniently appeared, the WHO essentially crossed out "avian," inserted "swine," and WHO Director-General Margaret Chan could boast: "The world can now reap the benefits of investments over the last five years in pandemic preparedness."

Yet this doesn’t explain why the agency hyped avian flu in the first place, nor why it exaggerated HIV infections by more than 10 times, or why it spread hysteria over Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS). That disease ultimately killed a day’s worth of seasonal flu victims before vanishing.

But the SARS scare was enough, leading to a broad expansion of WHO powers, including a degree of direct authority over national health agencies. It’s now using that to leverage more authority and a bigger budget. No shocker there.

What may be surprising is that it wants to use that power to help bring about a global economic and social revolution--and that Director-General Chan was so blunt about it in a speech in Copenhagen last month.

She said "ministers of health" should take advantage of the "devastating impact" swine flu will have on poorer nations to tell "heads of state and ministers of finance, tourism and trade" that:

  • The belief that "living conditions and health status of the poor would somehow automatically improve as countries modernized, liberalized their trade and improved their economies" is false. Wealth doesn’t equal health.
  • "Changes in the functioning of the global economy" are needed to "distribute wealth on the basis of" values "like community, solidarity, equity and social justice."
  • "The international policies and systems that govern financial markets, economies, commerce, trade and foreign affairs have not operated with fairness as an explicit policy objective."

Splendid! So let’s put the WHO in charge of worldwide economic and social engineering.

Then let’s form a new agency that sees disease as something to prevent and treat rather than something to exploit.