I am baffled by the H1N1 Flu Hysteria

The World Health Organization today confirmed that number of confirmed H1N1 (Swine) flu cases at 853 Worldwide.  Less than 1,000 confirmed cases.  So, being generous, maybe there are another 5,000 actual cases not yet confirmed.  Hell, say there are 10,000 uncofirmed cases.  That’s worldwide.  There have been a grand total of 20 deaths, 19 of them in Mexico, one in the US of a toddler who was visiting the US from Mexico.  These deaths are all tragic, but that is the WORLDWIDE death toll.

Now, compare these numbers to the annual US flu statistics (from the CDC):

Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and
  • about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

So, if roughly 36,000 DIE from regular, seasonal flu EVERY SINGLE YEAR in the US, why the heck is there such a panic about H1N1 flu?  Can someone please ‘splain it to me?

I’ve heard the argument that it’s because there is no vaccine for swine flu.  True, but every year is a gamble  as to whether the vaccine developed for that year will be effective against that year’s flue strain.

So, not to put too fine a point on it, but….what the hell?