Factual · Powerful · Original · Iconoclastic
In response to my Philadelphia Inquirer piece "Swine Flu Epidemic Ends with a Whimper," predictably public health community members have squealed that the only reason the disease proved so mild is because of their own Herculean efforts. I saw the same thing with heterosexual AIDS and SARS. So it was that Steven J. Barrer, M.D. wrote to the newspaper:
Vaccine production was accelerated, public education was aggressive, and awareness was heightened worldwide. Every physician I know made an effort to educate patients. Fumento also belittles simple efforts such as hand sanitizer, but that, and frequent hand-washing, muffling sneezes in your arm rather than hand, and minimizing casual physical contact, are widely credited with reducing the spread of contagious disease.
They are among the efforts hospitals are using, successfully, to reduce their infection rates.
Diseases don't go away. We just get better at dealing with them. I consider the mildness of this flu season a stunning public-health success.