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Medicine Earth Government News

WHO Declares H1N1's Spread Officially a Pandemic 368

juggledean writes "The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared a global flu pandemic after holding an emergency meeting, according to reports. It means the swine flu virus is spreading in at least two regions of the world with rising cases being seen in the UK, Australia, Japan and Chile." Whether it's called a pandemic or not, there's a hopeful note in the story about H1N1's spread: "...there were people who believed we might be in a kind of apocalyptic situation and what we're really seeing now with H1N1 is that in most cases the disease is self-limiting."
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WHO Declares H1N1's Spread Officially a Pandemic

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  • by localman57 ( 1340533 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:47PM (#28296827)
    For years, and years in the United States we fought forest fires in an absolute manner. When you see a fire, put it out completely, ASAP. And slowly fuel that should have burned built up. Until eventually the fires that did break out were so intense that they couldn't fight them anymore. Now that the world population is approaching 7 billion, am I the only one who finds this analogy terrifying?
  • Re:"H1N1" (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:57PM (#28297017)

    Ah, Slashdot. I can always rely on you to provide more examples of the sheer banality of paranoid conservative crazy.

  • Overreaction (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheMeuge ( 645043 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:59PM (#28297047)

    But it IS an overreaction. It's only NOT an overreaction if you're: a politician who is desperately trying to get the public to look the other way, to funnel more public money into private hands... a bureaucrat who is trying to get a promotion by "doing something" and is also very concerned about being labeled as passive if the final tally is 1% higher than normal... or a scientist who is desperately trying to grab more funding or a contract for his very own vaccine-making company.

    It's a paradise for self-interest (and OF self-interest, as well).

    With something like less than 500 deaths worldwide, this is the average equivalent of 3 days worth of seasonal flu... and considering that this virus has had a chance to spread for the past 2 months, I simply cannot fathom it being any more damaging than whatever seasonal flu strain is circulating in the world right now.

    Yet all we get are headlines such as "27'000 infected". Well... how about 500'000 dead?! Cause that's what seasonal flu did last year. Put that in a headline and smoke it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 11, 2009 @01:59PM (#28297067)

    Its the worst in California with all the lawyers masquerading as environmentalists.

    Honestly the best thing for the environment is the CONSERVATIONISTS rather than the environmentalists who live in LA or San Francisco and take weekend trips to the napa valley to "be one with nature", nevermind the fact that the "No tree should be cut ever, no brush should be cleared ever" policy they screech and sue for has cost millions of dollars of taxpayer money (the money California spends fighting the yearly fires caused by uncleared brush is staggering, and if we used 1/10th of that to clear the aforementioned brush and prevent the majority of fires all together) and lives.

    Totally lost my train of thought.

    Personally, I think its all a dystopian plot - If the fires burn hot enough it'll literally just glass the forestland and then nothing will grow there for 5-10 years, I saw this once growing up - scary. When it was glassed it was suddenly not considered forestland anymore and the developers can move right on in with no meaningful environmental impact report required.

    Thank god for the do-gooders at the sierra club.

  • Re:/. vs. WHO (Score:5, Interesting)

    by megamerican ( 1073936 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @02:08PM (#28297213)

    The WHO claims they are making this level 6 because it is spreading globally and it has nothing to do with the severity. So why don't they do this for any seasonal flu that spreads globally every year?

    If you read the legal definitions of what the WHO can do when it is level 6 is very scary. They can take your property, forcibly vaccinate you, quarantine you for an indefinite amount of time all with zero proof of anything.

    The few people who have actually died and had swine flu were all very ill before they were infected.

    Now for some comedy. []

  • it IS a pandemic (Score:5, Interesting)

    by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday June 11, 2009 @02:31PM (#28297631) Homepage Journal

    just not particularly lethal

    in 1918, the same thing happened: the flu appeared in the spring, outside its usual pattern of appearing in the fall, and then percolated all summer, just below the radar, expanding stealthily but inevitable everywhere []

    then (in the northern hemisphere, it would explode in the cold months of the spring in the southern hemisphere) the flu exploded in the fall, and killed millions that winter. this is inevitable with flu because the flu virus actually survives in cold air for a longer period of time []

    so the summer months deaden its spread (really, just slow down its spread) so that it spreads stealthily but inevitably, while the winter months allow it to flourish and explode, seemingly everywhere at the same time (because the summer months allowed to actually go everywhere, just in small little clusters everywhere)

    its also important to note that flu in 1918 killed at a very low rate, like under 1% of its victims. whatever strain dominates this winter, will be the real issue. will it have a 0.0003% mortality rate? or a 0.3% mortality rate? we're talking about the difference of tens of millions of lives in that difference, and no one knows what that mortality rate will be, since its such tiny little variations and random chance of one mutation dominating or another at work here

    so beware false alarmism, and beware false complacency. this virus is a genuine unknown quantity. it really could kill a lot this winter, it could really completely fizzle out. both anyone freaking out, or completely blase and lackadaisacal about the whole thing, are fooling themselves

    an unknown is an unknown is an unknown. neither false complacency or false alarmism is an appropriate response to that

  • by LanderX ( 936762 ) on Thursday June 11, 2009 @02:40PM (#28297779)

    Most of them, do not cover pandemic cases.

    Check your insurance contract.


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