Friday, August 27, 2010

When They Said the Sky Would Fall

I was reading an article on the National Public Radio website on how many people actually die in the US from the flu each year. As I read down the page, the following information really jumped out at me:
Deaths peak when the H3N2 strain of influenza A dominates. When it's H1N1 or influenza B, the toll is quite a bit lower...
While it certainly wasn't the focus of this article at all, this information is astounding WHEN we remember what transpired last year.

Do you remember when the news was ablaze with dire predictions about the so-called swine flu (H1N1)? We were told it was so lethal that, not an epidemic, but a pandemic was staring us in the face. TV and internet news sites covered the impending doom around the clock. People were clamoring for the vaccine and we found ourselves in a bit of public hysteria. Things got so bad that many school districts, when it was confirmed that a few students had contracted the H1N1 virus, shutdown completely for several days or a week or more.

Of course, the pandemic of pandemics never materialized. In truth, it turned out to be a run-of-the-mill flu season. The anticipated high death toll was within normal parameters. Here we are -- less than one year later -- and you rarely even hear it mentioned much anymore.

So, what happened? Is it simply a case that we lucked out, that we dodged the bullet?

Unfortunately, the answer is that the lethal potential of H1N1 was more hype than anything else. It wasn't based on science; it was born of capitalist economics!

It turns out that the people who first sounded the alarm about H1N1 had a vested interest. You see, the people who got the ball rolling toward public hysteria were from the pharmaceutical companies that manufacture flu vaccines. The more they could whip up doom and gloom forecasts, the greater the number of vaccine doses they could sell and, with each sale, their revenues and profit margins grew.

It is a story of callous disregard for the public interest. It was nothing more than a ploy to fatten the bottom line!

As bad as this was, governments around the globe played a role as well. They fell hook, line and sinker for the manufactured hype. With their citizens clamoring for them to do something, they purchased millions upon millions of vaccine doses. After the money had exchanged hands, some people began to figure out this whole deal was a hoax. But most governments did NOT share these doubts with the public.

In essence, government found itself between a rock and a hard place. If they exposed the dubious nature and heavy conflict of interest of those utilizing scare tactics re H1N1, it would cause many to ask why their leaders could be so easily duped and manipulated. It might cause a massive loss of faith in government. Not only that, but the deficit hawks would lampoon them for wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer money on snake oil.

So government did was government tends to do. It facilitated the continuance of the scare tactics to cover their derrières. And they continued to badger citizens to submit to this vaccine, even as more and more people learned that the great pandemic was make believe.

A few years back the US was in the throes of another such panic due to the West Nile virus. Owing to what transpired regarding the H1N1 situation, I'm now wondering if the companies that manufacture mosquito insecticides had a hand in this scare as well.

2 comments:

  1. If only people woke up and pushed for some real change, unlike the false façades put up by the Republicrat Establishment (that includes Tea Partiers who don't know they're being manipulated by the very banks they claim to oppose). If only all the world's politicians smoked some marijuana (something Bill Hicks would have liked to see) and read the Tao Te Ching, it would be a better world for all involved.

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  2. I agree that everyone would be better off if we all could learn to chill out more often!

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