Date: 2009-11-07 04:44 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
How reliable is the source? It sounds like pulling worst cast scenarios to make everyone afraid of the worst that could happen thought the likelihood is only small. Listing one or two cases where the extreme happened to healthy people is scare tactic if there is no actual numbers for how likely this is to happen.

I'm sorry, it's nicely bullet pointed but lists "myths debunked with counter-myths" but I still see no evidence listed.

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-07 07:17 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Well, honestly, it does sound a few alarmist bells. Let's look, for instance, at that statistic about fever. Here it is from the source (

"Fever was observed in 37.0% of A/H1N1, 40.6% of A/H3N2 (p = 0.86)..."

Note the p value of 0.86, indicating that that isn't notably different from the incidence of fever in seasonal (H3N2) influenza. The NS article implies (by my reading) that lack of fever is a big difference between the H1N1 and seasonal varieties when it isn't-about half (more or less) of people who get any flu get a fever (I've left out the bit about influenza B, where even fewer people got fevers).

Here, on the other hand, is a good line from the NS article:

"Think of it this way. 2009 H1N1 flu is effectively two diseases: ordinary flu for most, a lung disease that can kill quickly in a few. Most of the severe cases are in babies, and adults aged between 20 and 50. The impact of the deaths of young adults, on dependent families and the economy, will be much greater than that of the deaths among the elderly."

(emphasis added)

For *most people*, H1N1 is just the damned flu. For a small but unfortunate minority, it's a killer. Most people hate that randomness; it's easier to think of H1N1 as the Killer Flu! because that works much better in most people's mindset.

(To be fair, it likely isn't random; the people who are likely to die will end up having something in common, we just don't know what it is. Yet).

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-07 10:12 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I think this article as well as the previous comments demonstrate the difficulty of finding the right balance between excessive panicking and excessive apathy. H1N1 is an illness to be wary of and take steps to prevent, moreso than the seasonal flu (unless you're over 50, in which case seasonal flu is still more dangerous to you). Which is why I'm going to get the H1N1 shot when I can (although having patients who are immune-compromised makes that a really easy decision for me). But there's still a few stages between "even healthy younger folks should take sensible precautions like hand-washing/sanitizing and vaccination when available" and "OMGPlaguewe'reallgonnadie!" You can tell because the reaction to H1N1 showing up in a close population (e.g. a school) is sending everyone home, not quarantining them together. Dealing with H1N1 is a lot like going green - you're not going to do it perfectly and the effects on your personal well-being are not going to be clear and obvious, but you do what you can knowing it's helping you and everyone around you.

(as an aside, I keep thinking of Doomsday Book (

(no subject)

Date: 2009-11-16 04:05 am (UTC)
ext_14081: Part of a image half-designed as a bookplate. Colored pencil and ink, dragon reading (close-up on face) (Default)
From: [identity profile]
I'm in the process of reading the article (low bandwidth means in completes badly against my husband watching something via Hulu...). I've read a fair bit on this, since I was pregnant and now have the wee miter and want very much to avoid letting her have either flu (since my son's in preschool, and my hisband works in a hospital, ours odds of picking up viruses are pretty good). So I did get the shot while pregnant, despite reading a variety of articles (in the Atlantic, Newsweek, various places) of both "protect yourself" and "it's overblown" and being more convinced by the "it's overblown" side. I suspect my husband may not get the shot; it's still not available for my son, and we've had 2 "confirmed" (diagnosed?) cases in the preschool so far.

I believe that CBS news also had a special comparing diagnosed H1N1 to lab test results that confirmed (or didn't) these diagnosis, and the higher confirmation rates were about 17% (in Florida), the rest being other flu and nonFlu viruses. I didn't see the whole show, but if you want me to try to track down the website it was on, let me know. Still, it just suggests to me more "it's complicated; don't panic; wash often" than anything else.


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