Friday, May 1, 2009
Despite the fact that swine flu has claimed just one victim all week, a kill rate multiple times lower than the common flu, governments of the world are acting as if armageddon is right around the corner.
The World Health Organization calls a virus that has killed a confirmed 12 people in over a week a “threat to humanity” while talk of martial law, mandatory vaccinations and forced quarantines runs rampant.
Much of the hysteria is being fueled by people inundating hospitals and doctor’s offices who have mundane illnesses like the common cold, but who just want to “make sure” they don’t have swine flu. Such cases are immediately treated as “suspected swine flu cases” by the media and the panic spreads faster than the actual virus, which according to Mexican health officials is now clearly slowing down.
However, while media headlines and government advisors scream about a potential pandemic and hundreds of thousands of fatalities, an anonymous GP writing for the London Guardian today explains that calls from people worried they have swine flu have tailed off, while people with flu symptoms are almost non-existent.
“Yesterday we had two such calls: a patient just returned from Turkey who had diarrhoea and wondered if it could be flu, and an elderly lady wanting advice about her husband who has respiratory problems. Should he be started on Tamiflu? Simple answer: No,” he writes.
“Today, so far, there have been no calls at all. We have 15,000 patients and are close to one of the larger airports in England, but have not seen a case of flu. We have not had a single patient worrying that he or she might have flu. It feels like a phoney war. We have seen two patients with heart attacks, three acute asthmatic attacks, and a child who had swallowed an implausibly large piece of Lego. Such is general practice.”
However, on the flip side we’ve received reports that the virus is spreading far worse than officially recognized. As we reported yesterday, a doctor in Texas claims that the crisis is at least 10 times worse than reported and that a level 6 pandemic is already in effect.
We can draw the same conclusion that we proposed nearly a week ago just after all this started. Either the spread and severity of the disease is far worse than has been reported or, if the official fatality figures of just 12 confirmed deaths is accurate, governments are engaged in a mammoth fearmongering campaign in order to beta-test the martial law procedures that they eventually plan to institute. Suspension of constitutional rights and the implementation of martial law is already being discussed as a possible response to something that has not claimed a single life of a U.S. citizen.
In addition, pharmaceutical companies with deep ties to the establishment are making obscene profits while governments are cashing in on huge stocks of Tamiflu purchased four years ago to fight a bird flu pandemic that never came, before the drugs pass their expiry date and are useless.
Governments are parroting the line that they are “well prepared” to fight swine flu because of the billions of dollars spent on preparing for the threat of avian flu in 2005 and 2006. The U.S. and UK governments bought a combined 34.6 million doses of Tamiflu alone in October 2005, costing billions of dollars. The shelf life on those doses is quickly running out. Along comes a swine flu scare just at the right time to allow them to shift millions of batches of stock that would otherwise be heading for the landfill.
If the official figures of hundreds infected and just 12 dead are accurate more than a week after the outbreak of the virus, it seems that our first hunch has been proven true. The swine flu story is merely a repeat of the cynical and agenda-driven scare of 1976, when more people ended up dying as a result of taking the vaccine than from the actual virus itself.
As Simon Jenkins discusses, we’ve seen it all too often before. During the BSE scare in Britain in the mid-nineties, we were told that the disease had “the potential to infect up to 10 million Britons”. The damage done by the disease was virtually none yet the meat industry was savaged and British farming was all but destroyed.
Likewise, in 2003 Dr Patrick Dixon, formerly of the London Business School, created a furore when he stated the SARS virus had “a 25% chance of killing tens of millions”. The virus killed 774 between November 2002 and July 2003 and there hasn’t been a single infection in the six years since.
A fatality figure in the millions was again hyped during the avian flu scare of 2005-2006, another doomsday scenario that never happened.
Compared to the lethality of swine flu, these diseases had a far greater impact, and yet none of them even came close to living up to the same “end-is-nigh” proclamations made by health authorities that we are again hearing today.