Swine flu. The mere name strikes horror in the hearts of parents when they hear that their child has been diagnosed with it. I know. All three of my sons have had it. In reality, it was no worse than the regular flu. That’s not to say that it can’t be deadly. The confounding part of this particular disease is that it disproportionately affects younger, healthier people.
But is it a national emergency? President Obama thinks so. He declared swine flu a national emergency, saying the disease threatens to “overburden healthcare resources.” According to the CDC, there have been over 10,000 hospitalizations due to the swine flu and, the best they can figure, around 800 to 1,000 deaths. If it’s your child that’s been hospitalized or has died, then those figures amount to a huge deal. Otherwise, a thousand deaths from a disease is hardly a pandemic and 10,000 hospitalizations will hardly overburden our healthcare resources.
To put things in perspective, your ordinary, garden variety flu kills over 30,000 people per year. Throw in complications due to pneumonia and the figure tops 56,000. When you throw out stats like that, people will tell you that those deaths are primarily among the elderly and that’s true. However, 6,800 people under 65 die from pneumonia each year. That’s over 6 times the number that have died from swine flu. About 5,800 people die per year due to parasitic diseases. There has been no state of emergency declared there. Over 2,300 Americans die each year due to malnutrition. There has been no state of emergency declared there, either.
Again, I’m not diminishing the impact of having lost someone to swine flu. If it’s happening to you then the statistics mean nothing. The point is what such a declaration of emergency is having on the rest of the population. People are unjustifiably over-anxious. Sure, we should all take common sense steps to avoid the swine flu. If you have flu symptoms then contact your doctor. Oftentimes, catching this disease early can prevent complications down the road.
The troublesome aspect is the control the federal government will use and is using as a result of the declaration of emergency. Many people are wary of flu shots. I happen to be one of them. There can be side effects to the vaccine and, right now, I’m taking my chances with the flu. That could change very soon. The buzz about mandatory flu vaccinations abounds. New York had actually instituted such a mandate for healthcare workers until a judge struck it down. A group of nurses sued the state to stop the vaccines. It’s not very encouraging when healthcare workers don’t have faith in the flu vaccine.
The state health commissioner claimed authority, citing precedent with TB and rubella outbreaks. Were this 1918 when the swine flu killed upward of 100 million people, then he might have an argument, but it’s not.
Understand, I’m not encouraging anyone not to get a swine flu vaccination. That’s a personal judgment call. If you’re more afraid of the flu than the vaccine, then, by all means, get the shot. However, mandating its usage when relatively few have died from it seems a bit heavy-handed.
Declaring a national emergency over the swine flu is only a diversion from the real national emergency that’s taking place in Washington right now. There’s an all-out effort to force universal healthcare on every American. They want to tax your energy and drive many businesses out of business with cap-and-trade. Once they’re done with that it’s a push for amnesty for illegals.
Yep, I’d say we have a national emergency.