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Friday, January 6, 2006

Bird Flu

Posted by on January 6 at 9:16 AM

For those of you who missed it yesterday, NPR’s All Things Considered projects what an avian flu pandemic would look like in King County.


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Nationally the federal government is estimating that 90 million Americans would get sick in a flu pandemic.

Out of 300 million. That's roughly 30% of the country. Listening to media reports, you'd swear it was more like 99.999%.

Eighty thousand people would be sick in the Seattle area within two months of an outbreak, according to the projections. And 1-in-10 of them might need to be hospitalized.

One in ten. The frailest, oldest and sickest of us all would perish. You and me, as long as we're healthy, have little to worry about other than getting a really, really bad flu.

I don't doubt that a pandemic would make a lot of us rather ill, but I stand by the assertion that the media is doing everything they can to make us all panic over what is really just a bad flu. It's like they want us to overreact.

Short on supplies? Buy them! Train your staff to handle an overload! It's not 1918: people have the good habits and immunity to survive a bad illness with rest and fluids. There's no reason for this to be anything more than an incidental event.

Typically in a flu pandemic it's NOT the oldest, frailest ones who die -- it's more likely to be healthy young bucks. That's what happened in 1918.

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