Thursday, November 5, 2009

Swine flu cases overstated

Say it isn't so.

(CBS) If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu.

In fact, you probably didn’t have flu at all. That's according to state-by-state test results obtained in a three-month-long CBS News investigation.

In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. The rationale given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government has already confirmed there's an epidemic

(The government and WHO say it is an epidemic, therefore it is an epidemic)

Some public health officials privately disagreed with the decision to stop testing and counting, telling CBS News that continued tracking of this new and possibly changing virus was important.

CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu cases was made so hastily that states weren't given the opportunity to provide input. Instead, on July 24, the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists, CSTE, issued the following notice to state public health officials on behalf of the CDC:

"Attached are the Q&As that will be posted on the CDC website tomorrow explaining why CDC is no longer reporting case counts for novel H1N1. CDC would have liked to have run these by you for input but unfortunately there was not enough time before these needed to be posted (emphasis added)."

When CDC did not provide us with the material, we filed a Freedom of Information request with the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). More than two months later, the request has not been fulfilled. We also asked CDC for state-by-state test results prior to halting of testing and tracking, but CDC was again, initially, unresponsive.

While we waited for CDC to provide the data, which it eventually did, we asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.

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Click on the image to get your entire 1,000 words.
Read the article at the above link


  1. Yuh mean to tell me that we haven't been getting the straight dope on all this pandemic stuff? Oh Palease, I mean like tell me another one why dontcha.

  2. I mean to tell you just that.
    Or actually that news item does.
    With it's very clear illustrations.

    Tell you one you don't know?

    Ah, the cow jumped over the moon?
    Wait you probably know that one!

    How about this, that the scarcity is vaccine is as good of a sales pitch as I have ever seen.
    Do you know that one?

    Using scarcity to create demand?
    Is that one you don't know?

    It works well with swine flu vaccines too!
    All those long lines we saw on tv, the intentional opening of just a few clinics.
    Creating a perception of demand, then deny the product to actually increase the demand (what if I can't get it, OMG!)FEAR, then you will stop questioning the safety of the product and it will come down to dog eat dog to get the vaccine.
    An ingenious sales tactic, one people should be more aware of.
    It is the one used every time a new play station/video game console comes out, limited supplies
    available, so you see the morons line up outside of the stores....

    Here is an interesting article
    from Harvard Business School

    How to Profit from Scarcity

    "Marketers are trained to match supply to demand. Everything that consumers need should be available at the right time in the right place at the right price. Coca-Cola's mantra always has been to be within an arm's reach of desire. To be out of stock is to lose a sale or, worse, to lose a sale to a competitor.

    But marketers also understand that, by using the illusion of scarcity, they can accelerate demand. This false scarcity encourages us to buy sooner and perhaps to buy more than normal.

    We saw two excellent examples of this effect this summer with the launches of the iPhone and the seventh Harry Potter book. In both cases, the pre-launch publicity was designed not only to fuel demand but also to create the illusion that supplies would be limited.In both cases, the marketers anticipated demand levels pretty well"

    Just like our swine flu vaccine's hard sell pitch.

  3. aargh!! garbled sentence alert

    "How about this, that the scarcity is vaccine is as good of a sales pitch as I have ever seen."

    Should read..

    How about this, that the scarcity of our vaccine is as good of a sales pitch as I have ever seen.

    sorry :(

  4. Amazing stuff, Penny. Thanks for this research.

    I wonder if that boy that was on the cover of the Toronto Sun, the one that died, the one that got reams of press coverage in the Toronto area . . . I wonder if he had swine flu like they said?

    Because, first thing I did when reading about him, was I looked for "confirmed by testing" or "conducted an autopsy" . . . normal things to do when trying to determine cause of death.

    That's opposed to assuming, which is about as scientific as a tarot card reader.

    What an overblown load of poppycock this swine flu is, and what an amazing psychological operation is happening.

    By coincidence, the american dollar is about to nosedive, gold is going through the roof despite gov't attempts to stem the tide, gov't news agencies pronounce economic health while unemployment and manufacturing pass depression era levels, and the wars are ramping up amid a media trumpeting political peace initiatives . . . oh, and a global governance concerning climate change (nee global warming) is forming to create a financial yoke on the world the likes of which we haven't seen since . . . well, ever.

    Anyone feel like another crisis?

  5. I would like to point out that the article is actually written for those who might assume that since they have had the flu already they would be immune and not be in need of a flu shot. So the article is trying to get people to think that maybe it was not the flu that they had and so they would still need to get the vaccine. It is a very clever twisting of the truth to catch those who still think that governments and media do have their best interests at heart.


  6. thanks B I had noticed that twist on the article.

    Which was why I left the speculation out of it as much as possible.
    And just tried to stick to the facts of the issue.

  7. Hey Penny, how are you feeling today?