Monday, June 29, 2009

Dinosaur media demonsrate their small-minded nature.

Several fish-wraps now report there were 500,000 cases of the Swine Flu in NYC, during May. Two months ago, I wrote that the number of affected people have been grossly under-reported. So, on the one hand it is pleasant to see my claims repeated in a wide variety of major newspapers. On the other hand, I can't stand the poor reasoning skills employed to generate these reports. If you actually bother reading the article in NYT, you will notice that their methods for confirming such claims are badly flawed. They site some survey in which New Yorkers were called and 7% reported having flu like symptoms during May. From this 7%, they arrive at 500,000 people. Seasonal allergies were also prevalent during May and these cause congestion, runny nose, and a cough. Does that sound like the flu? Colds and other seasonal flues were also present among New Yorkers. Unless one believes that their phone screeners were as good as doctors evaluating a patient in the office, the numbers NYT quotes are misleading.

Overall, I doubt that there were 500,000 h1n1 cases in the city during the early portion of this outbreak-that is in May. Such percent of the population is typically affected during the entire course of a flu outbreak and not during the initial several weeks.

There are now 32 reported deaths from this flu in NYC and the mortality rate seems to be close to other seasonal flues (0.1%) - that might mean roughly 32,000 New Yorkers affected so far. If you consider that not every dead New Yorker will be checked for the Swine Flu, the real number may be significantly higher, but these are late June statistics. The May claims seem exaggerated.


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