Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Global flu pandemic would probably kill 62 million"

More fear-mongering:
Christopher Murray, from Harvard University, and colleagues looked at death registrations between 1915 and 1923 in places around the world where the data was believed to be at least 80 per cent complete. By looking at deaths before and after the pandemic and comparing them to the rate during the pandemic, they calculated the increased mortality caused by the disease.

Extrapolating that death rate to 2004, the authors calculate that between 51 million and 81 million individuals will die around the world if a similar virus causes a flu pandemic now. They say that there is no logical or biological reason why mortality should not be higher than in the Spanish flu pandemic, severe though that was.
How can anyone claim with a straight face that the conditions obtaining in the early 1900s can be compared to the present? Haven't medical science and technology undergone such quantum leaps in the last eight decades as to mitigate the effects of a similar pandemic? Unless, of course, their extrapolation made specific provisions for the increased opportunities for the virus to spread, what with all the international travel.