Fear-mongering knows no season

Troy Nelson
Here we go again. Just as the flu season is ramping up it is preceded by an epidemic of fear, panic and angst fortified with "most plausibles," "potentials," and "official forecasts."  Well, at least this is my take on how the USA Today exacerbates a fearful lead-in to the fall season. The illness the paper refers to in particular is the H1N1 Swine flu.

"Flu could infect half of USA - 90,000 deaths, 2M patients possible" shouts USA Today's headline from 8-25.

The global flu pandemic expected to return to the USA this fall may infect as much as half the U.S. population, flooding hospitals with nearly 2 million patients and causing 30,000 to 90,000 deaths, according to the first official forecast of the scope of the flu season now getting underway.

The report, released Monday by the White House, was prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It offers the forecast as the most plausible of a range of scenarios that reflect the potential impact of a new form of H1N1 flu, known as swine flu, which the report calls "a serious health threat to the United States."

Wow! That's a plethora of suppositions. I guess the more suppositions the greater the certitude of the prognostication. However... consider that a nation whose best meteorologists are lucky to get the 5-Day micro-level forecast close to correct approximately half the time also puts stock in macro-level science that one decade says we're going to have glaciers encroaching on our beach fun in Miami and the next that Anthropogenic Global Warming (basically, it's our fault, being humans and all that, the world's being torched) will ensure the destruction of the Polar Ice Caps and Frosty the Snowman.

This same sort of so-called science is predicting that the coming Swine Flu outbreak will resemble the flu seasons of '57 and '68 where 70,000 and 34,000 died respectively. Two things about this guessing:

1) The very next quote in the USA Today article is from White House homeland security advisor John Brennan - "There's great uncertainty [emphasis added] about what we're going to be seeing as this develops. We're trying to find a way to deal with various scenarios." This is stunning! With the possible number of permutations of "various scenarios" to account for it would be impossible to develop an actionable contingency plan that makes sense or is even executable.

2) What is not mentioned is that the "regular flu" kills 36,000 people a year. The Swine flu could kill no one and the experts' low-end guess at fatalities due to "flu" would already be exceeded. This is bogus science and lies, damned lies, and statistics. We're supposed to brace ourselves and be in fear. Where's the news at the beginning of each year trumpeting that the coming year's flu seasons will kill 36,000?

Let's be real here. According to the CDC 522 deaths have been attributed to the Swine flu thus far this year. If you look at their graphs the combination of regular and H1N1 influenza is sporadic at best across the country. The CDC is projecting a 17,240% increase in deaths this coming fall from what has been seen so far this year! Unless they plan on putting citizens in incubators or force us all to group share the same washcloth with a Swine flu dude or dudette how in the world can they soberly put out numbers like they have?

One thing we know: Rahm Emanuel has told us that no crisis should go to waste. When we see a crisis so eagerly predicted, it raises questions about the agenda jusy waiting for the right crisis.
Here we go again. Just as the flu season is ramping up it is preceded by an epidemic of fear, panic and angst fortified with "most plausibles," "potentials," and "official forecasts."  Well, at least this is my take on how the USA Today exacerbates a fearful lead-in to the fall season. The illness the paper refers to in particular is the H1N1 Swine flu.

"Flu could infect half of USA - 90,000 deaths, 2M patients possible" shouts USA Today's headline from 8-25.

The global flu pandemic expected to return to the USA this fall may infect as much as half the U.S. population, flooding hospitals with nearly 2 million patients and causing 30,000 to 90,000 deaths, according to the first official forecast of the scope of the flu season now getting underway.

The report, released Monday by the White House, was prepared by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. It offers the forecast as the most plausible of a range of scenarios that reflect the potential impact of a new form of H1N1 flu, known as swine flu, which the report calls "a serious health threat to the United States."

Wow! That's a plethora of suppositions. I guess the more suppositions the greater the certitude of the prognostication. However... consider that a nation whose best meteorologists are lucky to get the 5-Day micro-level forecast close to correct approximately half the time also puts stock in macro-level science that one decade says we're going to have glaciers encroaching on our beach fun in Miami and the next that Anthropogenic Global Warming (basically, it's our fault, being humans and all that, the world's being torched) will ensure the destruction of the Polar Ice Caps and Frosty the Snowman.

This same sort of so-called science is predicting that the coming Swine Flu outbreak will resemble the flu seasons of '57 and '68 where 70,000 and 34,000 died respectively. Two things about this guessing:

1) The very next quote in the USA Today article is from White House homeland security advisor John Brennan - "There's great uncertainty [emphasis added] about what we're going to be seeing as this develops. We're trying to find a way to deal with various scenarios." This is stunning! With the possible number of permutations of "various scenarios" to account for it would be impossible to develop an actionable contingency plan that makes sense or is even executable.

2) What is not mentioned is that the "regular flu" kills 36,000 people a year. The Swine flu could kill no one and the experts' low-end guess at fatalities due to "flu" would already be exceeded. This is bogus science and lies, damned lies, and statistics. We're supposed to brace ourselves and be in fear. Where's the news at the beginning of each year trumpeting that the coming year's flu seasons will kill 36,000?

Let's be real here. According to the CDC 522 deaths have been attributed to the Swine flu thus far this year. If you look at their graphs the combination of regular and H1N1 influenza is sporadic at best across the country. The CDC is projecting a 17,240% increase in deaths this coming fall from what has been seen so far this year! Unless they plan on putting citizens in incubators or force us all to group share the same washcloth with a Swine flu dude or dudette how in the world can they soberly put out numbers like they have?

One thing we know: Rahm Emanuel has told us that no crisis should go to waste. When we see a crisis so eagerly predicted, it raises questions about the agenda jusy waiting for the right crisis.