President's Council Swine Flu House of Cards (my piece in today's Philly Inquirer)

September 02, 2009  ·  Michael Fumento  ·  Weblog

To a grand media reception, the President's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology issued a paper giving as a "plausible scenario" 30,000 - 90,000 U.S. swine flu deaths, with a peak before Americans would have a chance to get vaccine immunity.

It's pork baloney, as I write in today's Philadelphia Inquirer.

Although this shortened version of my original piece no longer contains it, the CDC has refused to support that figure. For good reason.

The report is based on three layer of cards. If anyone one doesn't hold, everything comes tumbling down. None hold against scientific evidence. The layers:

  1. An epidemic peaking in October than infects 150 million Americans. BUT that's just six weeks away, meaning about 2 million infections a day between now and then. Yet it took FIVE MONTHS to reach the first 2 million infections.
  2. Vastly more Americans will be infected with swine flu than seasonal flu because swine flu is new to our immune systems. BUT it's not new. It's subtype H1N1. That subtype has been circulating since 1977. We've had exposure for decades to something that our immune systems recognize.
  3. Swine flu is as lethal as season flu. BUT all the data indicate it's far milder. Fresh statistics from New York City indicate it's a tenth to a 40th as lethal as seasonal flu.

CONCLUSION: The evidence is that the U.S. will have NO excess flu deaths this year and it's entirely possible we'll have fewer deaths than in a typical season. Why? Because swine flu seems to displace seasonal flu and it's milder. With a similar case number and lower mortality, we have fewer overall deaths.