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The Current Flu Outbreak -
How Dangerous Is It?

By Joel Skousen
World Affairs Brief
Frankly, it's too early to tell. There are claims that the number of cases is overstated and signs that they are understated. I'll present the evidence on both sides. A pandemic, by definition, spreads to all the population rapidly and, so far, we are a long way from that. Even the average flu season in the US kills 30 to 35 thousand people annually, so it is wise to keep this all in perspective. This is a strong virus, which has killed a few people, and it is just getting started. Some hospitals report that many people infected have fairly mild symptoms, but there may be more than one strain out there. The CDC reports that not all flu victims have the swine flu. A deadly virus such as the 1918-1919 flu epidemic was not mild on anyone and hundreds of thousands died. This week, I'll offer some advice on how to protect yourself naturally, without having to line up for dangerous vaccines or take expensive "anti-viral" drugs with all their side effects. As with other national emergencies our biggest danger may be economic if the government overreacts and shuts down travel and commerce. Mexico is going down that path and has told everyone to stay at home, but that can't last long. People have to make a living and will have to go back to work soon. Mexicans have little food on hand due to their habit of shopping daily rather than weekly. If governments overplay their hand, this panic could damage any hope of a quick economic recovery.--
Paul Joseph Watson of prisonplanet.com presents the worse-than-reported case: "A doctor in Texas claims that swine flu cases are at least ten times worse than officials are letting on, and that hospitals are becoming overwhelmed as the virus has already crossed the threshold to be considered a phase 6 global pandemic [not true at all]. Dr. Marcus Gitterle, an emergency medicine physician based out of New Braunfels, Texas, sent out an internal alert which contains several stunning claims about swine flu that, if true, officials have presumably sought to keep from the public.--
"After I returned from a public health meeting yesterday with community leaders and school officials in Comal County and Hays County, (name removed) suggested I send an update to my patients in the area, because what we are hearing privately from the CDC and Health Department is different from what you are hearing in the media," writes Gitterle. The doctor claims that the actual number of confirmed cases of swine flu is 10 to 25 times worse than has been reported, and that people are not recovering easily, as has been claimed, but that many Americans are in fact seriously ill." --
I think the doctor is over reacting and exaggerating. It might be 2-3 times more than reported, but not 10-25 times. Credible doctors reported from California that most of the California cases are mild and will easily recover, even without giving anti-viral drugs. In Mexico it may be bad, but not yet in America.--
The Olympian newspaper reports how Mexico is reacting (changing daily): "In Mexico City, surgical masks given to subway passengers, public events canceled, schools and public venues closed and church services postponed. President Felipe Calderon has assumed new powers to isolate infected people. World Bank is providing Mexico with more than $200 million in loans to help with the outbreak." Travel restrictions and quarantines are the next shoes to drop. Argentina has demanded that all passengers arriving from Mexico check in with the ministry of health. --
Here is a report from a British ex-patriot living in Mexico and working in health care (relayed through James Wesley Rawle's Survivalblog.org). "The number of cases increases significantly every day. The number of fatalities is also increasing. At least three doctors are said to have died from swine flu. There is great fear among the medical community. We know that the situation is very serious and that we are at high risk of infection. But we are more scared of carrying it into our homes and infecting our loved ones. One of my colleagues that was exposed chose to stay in a hotel rather than run the risk of infecting her daughters. These fears are getting worse as we realize that it is not possible to get antiviral drugs from pharmacies and that in the health sector they are close to being delivered in droppers. Despite this, the government says that it can rely on antiviral drugs to treat a million cases. We do not have easy access to these, even though we are part of the health sector." --
As I predict in my books on preparedness, some lower level health care workers in Mexico are not showing up for work due to fear of the high levels of contamination in hospitals themselves. Some are already ill. However, most hospitals in the US are still reporting zero cases. Even if sick, I don't think I'd go to a hospital. If you had a lesser form of the flu, you'd be sure to catch a worse variety there. Besides, hospitals only rely on anti-viral drugs, and know nothing about natural therapies, or even good nutrition (judging by hospital food). I can't find any compelling reason to go into the infected atmosphere of a hospital in such a crisis. --
World and national health officials are caught between two difficult positions--waiting until things really get bad before declaring an emergency (and risk being charged with reacting too late) or rolling out quarantine plans now and shutting down all public meetings and transportation as a preventative measure. The latter has huge risks as well, especially if it doesn't turn into a really serious epidemic. If the establishment is looking for an excuse to practice draconian intervention on the American public, they may have their chance, but already the travel industry is demanding they wait so as to not damage already waning public confidence in flying. The World Health Organization says, as of April 28th, "there were only seven laboratory-confirmed swine flu deaths, all in Mexico, from 79 confirmed cases around the world."--
In deference to the pork industry, which has seen a steep sell off in pigs (trying to beat the collapse in hog prices) the WHO has said that the most recent research on swine flu has shown that "the virus is not caused by pigs," which is true. The disease is now being referred to as Mexican flu or influenza A (H1N1)." The WHO has also moved the pandemic alert from four to five, on a scale of six, but refusing to go higher despite pressure from some government sources.--
Meanwhile, the US Dep. Of Homeland Security is preparing its quarantine guidelines. As CBS reports, "DHS has sent a memo to some health care providers noting procedures to be followed if the swine flu outbreak eventually makes quarantines necessary. 'The Department of Justice has established legal federal authorities pertaining to the implementation of a quarantine and enforcement. Under approval from HHS, the Surgeon General has the authority to issue quarantines.'--
"Bridger McGaw [DHS' acting assistant secretary for the private sector] appears to have been referring to the section of federal law that allows the Surgeon General to detain and quarantine Americans 'reasonably believed to be infected' with a communicable disease [very broad powers without many restrictions]. Federal quarantine authority is limited to diseases listed in presidential executive orders; President Bush added 'novel' forms of influenza with the potential to create pandemics in Executive Order 13375. Anyone violating a quarantine order can be punished by a $250,000 fine and a one-year prison term. --
"The memo from McGaw also said: 'U.S. Customs and Coast Guard Officers assist in the enforcement of quarantine orders. Other DOJ law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Marshals, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives may also enforce quarantines. Military personnel are not authorized to engage in enforcement." If this gets bad, it is likely we'll see military troops enforcing quarantines. On CNBC they showed a uniformed Admiral who was present in the Health and Human Services command center monitoring the outbreak. Quarantines are very tough to enforce and there are not enough law enforcement to enforce a medical martial law operation. --
On the other side of the story, there are those claiming this is overblown, like Patrick Wood and Dr. Russell Blaylock, MD: "Are globalist fear-mongers driving the media to panic the public into universal healthcare solutions? Or federally-mandated vaccinations? By definition, a 'pandemic' is an epidemic that is geographically widespread. Fear-mongers are always careful to add the innuendo that millions of people could and probably will die, as in the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918 that killed between 20 and 100 million people worldwide. Excuse me, but how does the death of even a few hundred equate to 20 million? Almost all of the deaths, limited as they are, are in Mexico. The ratio of deaths to infections is very small. Again, how does this outbreak even remotely qualify as a pandemic? Answer: It does not!" His point about the ratio of deaths to infection being less than 10% is significant. In all other worldwide plagues, the death ratio has been well above 50% of those infected. --
Tom Randall of Bloomberg says that "Travel restrictions under consideration by the U.S. to prevent the spread of a new flu virus may be influenced by politics more than science, the World Health Organization's chief said today. WHO doesn't recommend closing borders or restricting the movement of people or goods, Margaret Chan, director-general of the United Nations agency told leaders from health groups around the world in a conference call today. The disease, which may have caused more than 100 deaths and sickened more than 1,000 people, has spread too far and would be impossible to contain by closing borders, she said." --
The scare, whether real or invented, will spur Congress to accede to more power for government action. Congress.org says, "As the world grapples with a potential health crisis from the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, Congress is responding on several fronts. Expect the potential pandemic to ignite debate over vaccination stockpiles, health care reform, immigration policy and border security, among other issues." --
There will also be a lot of profiteering going on--especially on the part of the big pharmaceutical companies who manufacture anti-viral drugs and vaccines. They have been granted immunity from liability on all these dangerous products, so they win weather vaccines succeed or fail--at the expense of the drug taking public, of course, who will suffer adverse side effects. It's one thing to take high risks on drugs when there is a 90% chance you will die, but quite another when the danger of dying from a virus perhaps even less than the risk of drug or vaccine harm.--
As James Ridgeway wrote, "With no vaccine in sight, the U.S. government, along with others, is belatedly stocking up on Tamiflu, a drug that supposedly offers some defense against bird and swine flu. But in 2005 Japanese newspapers told how [some] children who were administered Tamiflu went mad and tried to kill themselves by jumping out of windows. In a cautionary statement the FDA noted 12 deaths among children, and said there are reports of psychiatric disturbances, including hallucinations, along with heart and lung disorders. Roche, the manufacturer, is quoted by the BBC as stating that the rate of deaths and psychiatric problems is no higher among those taking its medication than among those with flu. The company is increasing Tamiflu production to 300 million doses a year to meet demand."----
(End Excerpt)
World Affairs Brief - Commentary and Insights on a Troubled World.
Copyright Joel Skousen. Partial quotations with attribution permitted.
Cite source as Joel Skousen's World Affairs Brief http://www.worldaffairsbrief.com
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