Run, Fast. We’re All Going to Die.

Ok, look. This is really starting to get irritating. Regular, garden variety flu kills about 35,000 people per year and hospitalizes 200,000. Right now, we have 91 confirmed cases of Swine Flu, and one death — a 23 month old who had recently been in Mexico. And then there’s this, absolutely buried in a New York Times report titled, “Containing Flu Is Not Feasible, Specialists Say.”

Some experts are cautiously optimistic. A computer simulation of this outbreak released Wednesday by a team from Northwestern University projected a worst-case scenario, meaning no measures have been taken to combat the spread. It predicted a mere 1,700 cases in the United States four weeks from now.

So, please everyone, take a deep breath, wash your hands, and relax. In the meantime, you can check your risk level here.

From a policy perspective, this is why it would be moronic to close borders and trade.

UPDATE: And from the LA Times:

Flu viruses are known to be notoriously unpredictable, and this strain could mutate at any point — becoming either more benign or dangerously severe. But mounting preliminary evidence from genetics labs, epidemiology models and simple mathematics suggests that the worst-case scenarios are likely to be avoided in the current outbreak.

This virus doesn’t have anywhere near the capacity to kill like the 1918 virus,” which claimed an estimated 50 million victims worldwide, said Richard Webby, a leading influenza virologist at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.


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