Who Benefits From Swine Flu Hysteria?

Influenza type A H1N1 (Swine Flu) has affected fewer than 300 people worldwide and according to the World Health Organization there have been fewer than 10 deaths associated with that virus and yet the world is going nuts. Joe Biden is telling people not to travel by air or subway and there are all kinds of Swine Flu emergency operation centers popping up in states. Why are we going through all of this for a flu outbreak that is way smaller than the seasonal flu episodes and for a flu that seems to be rather mild when it runs its course?

Why is all this happening and who stands to gain from it?

For the past few years the scientists and the government folks have been looking at the Avian or Bird Flu. This has been the one they figured would be spreading among humans and killing lots of folks and it still might do that.

The Swine Flu popped up and they were not expecting it. This flu is a combination of human, avian, and swine viruses that got together in a pig host and replicated in RNA to become something different and something that could be transmitted from the animal host to the human and from human to human. The process where viruses get together and something new is created is known as an antigenic shift and the virus is sometimes referred to as a novel virus.

This caught people by surprise and the reaction (or over reaction) was because people were not expecting this and worried that it could lead to a huge number of deaths like those that occurred in 1918. But why the hype? Who benefits from all this?

The drug companies that make antivirals and vaccines stand to benefit. The research scientists who work on this stuff stand to get more work. The drug companies that will have to make more medicine to replace stockpiles stand to benefit.

The hype seems to be driven toward over reaction in order to gin up a huge response. Of course, Obama had to spend another billion dollars on this problem.

Keep in mind that only about 109 people in the US are confirmed as having the virus and many of them have already recovered. The course of the illness seems to be mild and it is not particularly debilitating. Nearly all of the people in the US had some contact with Mexico in that they either visited there, met up with someone who visited there or were exposed to someone who came from there. Mexico figures into nearly all the exposures in the US and even though the reports were that over 150 had died in Mexico the WHO says that the confirmed number is 7.

There is a belief that a lot of Mexicans got the flu but never sought medical care and they recovered without difficulty.

Still, the world is going nuts over fewer than 300 cases world wide. Some places are culling pigs, and some are restricting travel. People are afraid.

During the regular flu season we don’t close schools when one kid gets the flu and we don’t stand up flu emergency operations centers when 109 have been confirmed as having the virus (though no doubt more people have gotten sick). It usually takes quite a few before we become concerned. Keep in mind that 36,000 people die from the flu in the US each year and 200,000 are hospitalized. So I think we are going overboard on this flu.

I think that many companies will make money during another crisis we can’t let go to waste. I understand the scramble. They all had their eyes on avian flu and this one showed up out of nowhere.

When you see all the hype just keep in mind that this is a huge industry and flu is a big money maker. A lot of people make money in a “billions of dollars” business.

This is not to say we don’t need to be careful but I think we are getting all spun up over nothing.

Big Dog

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2 Responses to “Who Benefits From Swine Flu Hysteria?”

  1. Blake says:

    I can understand the nervousness here, though- it’s kind of like being in one of those “fun” houses that scare you at a carnival, where the unpleasant surprises just keep on coming.
    After awhile you want it to stop, but this is a fun house with no exit. The “crises” just keep on coming, and the public just keeps on twitching.
    This is Barama’s version of enhanced interrogation- crisis after crisis until we cede to him all our liberty.

  2. […] the H1N1 Scare Filed under: Other — amerbud @ 7:49 pm Tags: Big Dog, H1N1, swine flu Big Dog’s Weblog on Swine Flu Influenza type A H1N1 (Swine Flu) has affected fewer than 300 people worldwide and according to the […]