Diary

The White House That Cried Wolf Sooey!

Obama has declared swine flu to be a national emergency. Considering this statement was made while the Democrats have health care on their political agenda, the timing needs some scrutiny!  This White House has cried wolf so many times, they are reaping the crop of skepticism sown by their frequent and flagrant lies.  By continually demonstrating a predilection to dramatize a situation for their agenda, and with Rahm never let a serious crisis go to waste Emanuel hard at work, this administration has no credibility.

CBS News had this report on Wednesday, October 21st (my emphasis):

Swine Flu Cases Overestimated?

CBS News Exclusive: Study Of State Results Finds H1N1 Not As Prevalent As Feared

If you’ve been diagnosed “probable” or “presumed” 2009 H1N1 or “swine flu” in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu….

In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. The rationale given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government has already confirmed there’s an epidemic?

Some public health officials privately disagreed with the decision to stop testing and counting, telling CBS News that continued tracking of this new and possibly changing virus was important because H1N1 has a different epidemiology, affects younger people more than seasonal flu and has been shown to have a higher case fatality rate than other flu virus strains.

CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu cases was made so hastily that states weren’t given the opportunity to provide input….

…we asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors…

CDC continues to monitor flu in general and H1N1 through “sentinels,” which basically act as spot-checks to detect trends around the nation. But at least one state, California, has found value in tracking H1N1 flu in greater detail.

“What we are doing is much more detailed and expensive than what CDC wants,” said Dr. Bela Matyas, California’s Acting Chief of Emergency Preparedness and Response. “We’re gathering data better to answer how severe is the illness. With CDC’s fallback position, there are so many uncertainties with who’s being counted, it’s hard to know how much we’re seeing is due to H1N1 flu rather than a mix of influenza diseases generally. We can tell that apart but they can’t.

This CBS article means we do not know exactly how prevalent H1N1 is.

With most cases diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors, the H1N1 flu epidemic may seem worse than it is.

CBS also discusses the problems unconfirmed cases cause with vaccination.  The vaccine is in short supply and it may be used unnecessarily with those who are already immune because they have actually had H1N1.  They are also needlessly put at risk to contract Guillain-Barre syndrome.

The CBS report is from Wednesday, October 21st.  CBS filed a Freedom of Information request over two months ago with the Department of Health and Human Services to discover why the CDC decided to no longer report H1N1 case counts.  As of last Wednesday, they had not received the information.

Fox News has a quote from the CDC on deaths and hospitalizations.

“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve seen more than 1,000 deaths and 20,000 hospitalizations,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the CDC. “We expect it to occur in waves, but we can’t predict when those waves will happen.”

While I assume the hospitalizations and deaths from swine flu were confirmed by state labs, I’m going to ignore the statements in the article about how prevalent the swine flu is, because the CBS report indicates the CDC doesn’t have statistics.

Here are statistics from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to compare with those above on the swine flu:

Every year in the United States, on average:

  • 5% to 20% of the population gets the flu;
  • more than 200,000 people are hospitalized from flu-related complications; and
  • about 36,000 people die from flu-related causes.

So, is it really time to declare a national emergency?

Why did the CDC tell states to stop testing and stop counting individual H1N1 cases?  Is this incompetence?  playing politics?  Remember what CBS said above?

Some public health officials privately disagreed with the decision to stop testing and counting, telling CBS News that continued tracking of this new and possibly changing virus was important because H1N1 has a different epidemiology, affects younger people more than seasonal flu and has been shown to have a higher case fatality rate than other flu virus strains.

If the swine flu pandemic does become more serious, questions will be asked about the CDC decision, the HHS and the vaccine delivery delays. In Aesop’s fable of the boy who cried wolf, no one believed the boy when the wolf actually did come.  With the swine flu, any genuine efforts made by the administration to combat problems would be lost in the storm of accusations of playing politics with lives.

Even when liars tell the truth, they are never believed.

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Crossposted to Be John Galt in a modified format.

H/T: CBS News, Fox News, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, SmartAboutHealth, Wikipedia.