What can I say? Kad Barma has run the numbers on influenza and posted his results on his website (choosing a soundtrack), at fun with numbers. Yes, Kad has a problem finding the shift key.
The bottom line is that there is a lot of influenza going around and killing people each and ever year. His numbers are 500,00 to 250,000 per year.
I checked a different source, the US Federal Statistical Abstract. The answer I got was somewhat lower (for 2002 to 2005) being between 59,662 to 65,681. That is still a whole bunch of people and that fits nicely with Kad's statistic of about 13,000 deaths so far this year.
We are all trying to sort through what this all means. My wife is hoping to go visit a couple of our grandchildren (3 years and a year and a half) soon and is worried about picking up the strain if she flew and then giving it to the grandchildren. This is a serious and responsible concern.
How to gauge it? We listen to CDC and WHO, but we also use our common sense, as Kad says. But we need to understand our own bias. Remember the headlines about torture, which this crisis pushed off the front page? Yes, we wanted to be assured and on 12 September 2001 we didn't really know anything. In some ways we are at the same state today.
Interestingly, if one looks at the Spanish Flu pandemic in 1918/19, we see that deaths peaked in New York City, London, Paris and Berlin inside a month (mid-October to mid-November) and then subsided. The Chart is here. Surprisingly, this was in an age without trans-Atlantic flights and a major war was under way (Berlin and the other cities were on opposite sides).
So, in some ways it is up to us to protect ourselves. So, wash your hands (or as one authority on TV said yesterday, wash your hands, wash your hands and then wash your hands). Maybe buy some hand sanitizer, like Purell. Avoid people who are not well.
Regards — Cliff
10 months ago