Swine Flu Should Be The Least Of Our Concerns.


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Unfortunately people only start to panic when something like this might directly affect them, which is why we normally don’t worry about the fact that millions of people die from conditions like starvation every year – we don’t see it. We don’t worry too much about malnutrition, malaria or sanitary conditions in Third World countries because it is not directly affecting us today. However, mention a flu that has sickened a few hundred and killed a handful of people, and the entire civilized world freaks out. Meanwhile, millions around the globe live with this kind of fear on an hourly and daily basis – yet get no assistance at all. A friend on Twitter pointed me to this website, which constantly details the state of our planet, and you might be surprised by some of the diseases and conditions happening currently to many more people than the swine flu has affected. As of this writing, and just for today…

3,803 have died from HIV/AIDS
1,923 have died from TB
1,120 have died from malaria
20,540 have died from cardiovascular disease
8,927 have died from cancer
1,210 have died from diabetes
4,550 have died from respiratory diseases
213 have died from meningitis
597 have died from nutritional deficiencies

While I realize the swine flu sounds scary, it’s nothing compared to what millions of people live with every single day. Not a single person, as of this writing, has died from it in the United States. That is not to say it couldn’t get worse or we shouldn’t be cautious, but let’s try to be realistic about what is going on here.

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  1. Matt, I couldn’t agree more. You gotta wonder about the revenue generation from the constant fear-mongering over this…

  2. Well said David. Thousands die every year from what I guess we have to call “regular flu” nowadays, so I’m curious why the very idea of a flu virus migrating from city to city has become a novelty concept.

    I think it would be humorous to ask CNN and Fox News to disclose how much of their quarterly revenue came from web pages related to swine flu once this story subsides.

  3. Great post, great point.

    It’s also a good example of how fear is really only a good motivator for creating more fear, distracting people from focusing on more important things, and generally counter productive to making real positive progress.

    I’m not discounting the importance of preparing for any emergency, only chiming in on giving each potential threat it’s fair weight.

    1. I agree Michael. It’s amazing what people get wrapped up in when there are far worse things going on every single day. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Agreed Matt. It’s amazing that people try to fight it, even when they know the implications. Man-made, alien-made, nature-made – it’s happening, and we damn well better start doing something about it!

  5. I too am suspicious of the hysteria surrounding this latest virus. We need to be watchful, lest our government use this potentially unwarranted fear as another reason for the citizenry of this country to cede more control to the government.

    Same deal with the theory of “man-made global warming”

  6. @ rocketc

    Healthy suspicion is always a good thing! Keep it up! Prevents us from being sheeple.

    Strange thing about the “man made global warming” issue is this: why is it even a debate considering the implications?

    We all know smoking cigs is a bad thing? Aren’t we doing the same thing burning coal & oil on a mega scale?

  7. The problem is you can get the swine flu by just coming in contact with other people are sick and can affect people that are perfectly healthy.

    Remember wash your hands!

  8. Any flu is, regardless of origin, a virus. A virus is AIR-BORN, that is, passed from one person to another by inhalation (breathed in). While handwashing is effective in preventing BACTERIAL infections, i.e., food poisoning, salmonilla, it is no defense against a virus.
    ADVISORIES: Avoid crowds. Limit travel. Watch you local news for school/business closings. Don’t go to work “sick.”

    Read “The Great Influenza” by John M. Barry for a sobering education about the “swine” flu pandemic of 1918 that started in Kansas, circled the globe, mutated several times during its journey, and came back to the U.S. to continue killing after having taken millions of lives.

  9. @ Jade,

    I hate to sound like the professor, but you’re incorrect on a few points.

    1) Not all viruses are airborne. Think HIV, Rotavirus, Hepatitis, etc.
    2) Viruses, both airborne and non-airborne, can be transmitted by from unwashed hands.
    3) SalmonElla

  10. I’ll withhold my “crazies” label to be nice. At least she’s reading a book which is better than 99% of the other folks glued to CNN or refreshing Google Maps every 20 minutes hoping for an update.

    All best are off though when crack dealers start selling Cipro to cure swine flu. I might lose it then.

    1. If you had gotten the amount of spam comments selling facemasks and tamiflu, along with the conspiracy theorists that think the govt released it to control us, you would understand the crazies. 🙂

  11. Hi David, I read the info on the link you supplied. It confirms that the “SPANISH FLU PANDEMIC THAT FOLLOWED THE FIRST WORLD WAR…” in 1918 claimed the lives of up to 50 million people, the very outbreak I referenced.

    I’m not sure what the controversial 1976 political vaccination push has to do with taking reasonable steps to resist this new outbreak…

    1. Yep, in 1918. So what happened in 1976 when we knew better and had better knowledge of what to do? Nothing. As I said in the article, thousands and thousands die every single day from other diseases and viruses – yet we dont care because this one might affect people that have money. That’s the real reason for the panic; after all, who cares about those in Third World countries that suffer every single day and get no help at all?

  12. Matt, I stand admonished: You’re correct. I’d forgotten about the “contact” viruses you cited. Thank you. Jade

  13. “I think the government should be prepared for pandemics but I also think people should chill out.”

    I could not agree more, Kim. I hate it when the media tries to scare everyone, but I hate it even more when people buy into it without stopping to think before reacting.

  14. I completely agree with you David. It’s irrational and people are ignoring real problems that many people in the world experience daily.

    I read the book that Jade referenced and it’s very good. I have an interest in the outbreak of 1918 because my great-grandmother died from it. While we have better medicine now we also have a media designed to terrify us more. I think the government should be prepared for pandemics but I also think people should chill out.

  15. David, you wrote:
    “Agreed Matt. It”™s amazing that people try to fight it, even when they know the implications. Man-made, alien-made, nature-made – it”™s happening, and we damn well better start doing something about it!”

    That is the crux of the matter, what causes global warming? If is it alien-made, is the solution to use more CFL bulbs and burn less oil? If it is nature-made, will we slow it down by reducing the number of cows on farms?

    I used to believe in man-made global warming, but there is a great deal of evidence to suggest that global warming is not man-made. It is important to consider all of the evidence, not just the stuff that supports your theory. Which also happens to be held the majority of news media (they’re credible), and all of Hollywood (good scientists), and all the companies (they would never do anything unethical) who stand to benefit.

    Getting back to swine flu – over a quarter million people a year die from “regular” influenza. Why is our government, the UN and our news media making such a big deal over it? Joe Biden has told his family to quit using mass transit because of the disease . . . Is it right for him to increase his family’s carbon footprint because of swine flu?

    1. The government is the only one not making a big deal over it. Obama yesterday said to take it easy, dont panic, wash your hands and relax. It’s the news and Twitter that have turned it into some huge epidemic that has barely done any damage at all.

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