No need to panic over H1N1 flu — Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star

Here’s an excerpt from a column that appeared last Saturday in the Toronto Star, a mainstream newspaper from Canada’s largest city. While this may seem tame compared to a lot of what we publish here on the flu scene, this is notable for being one of the few voices of common sense being heard among all the decontextualized hype in the mainstream media.

Nurse Cathy Hayman (right) injects the H1N1 vaccine into the arm of three year old Timothy Logan who visited the H1N1 clinic located in the Pickering Town Centre with his mother Dawn (left). (Oct. 26, 2009) Photo: Tara Walton, Toronto Star

“People die of the flu. This is no consolation to the family of 13-year-old Evan Frustaglio, the Toronto boy who died Monday, apparently after contracting swine flu. But it is true.

This was so before this latest pandemic. It will almost certainly continue to be so in the future. But it is no reason to go off the deep end.

Keep things in perspective. What is worrisome about this particular strain, sometimes known as Novel Swine-origin Influenza A (H1N1), is its newness. We know, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, that is contains genes from pigs, humans and birds. We know from experience that such a mix gives it the potential to pass back and forth between species and to become particularly virulent.

Which is presumably one reason why the public health establishment is so fixated on swine flu. The other reason may that world governments are using this pandemic as a test run to see how they would respond to a real crisis.

But what we also know is that, so far, this flu strain has been no more serious than any other.

To put it another way: Before the H1N1 scare, the death from flu of a 13-year-old boy wouldn’t have led newscasts across the nation.

Consider the facts.

According to the World Health Organization, fewer than 5,000 people have died around the globe from this variant of swine flu. In any normal year, influenza causes between 250,000 and 500,000 deaths worldwide….”

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4 responses to “No need to panic over H1N1 flu — Thomas Walkom in the Toronto Star

  1. BRIAN

    thank you thomas walkom …. we need more people like you in the media. that will tell people the truth about the h1n1. you should voice more about the way the drug companys are using the media and hype to to get people in a panic about getting the h1n1 vaccine. and putting people in danger by doing so. i hope to read more from you on this topic.
    Brian Rich gresham oregon

  2. thebovine

    I think smart people are increasingly coming to the realization that the object of real concern is not the Swine Flu itself, but the potential of damage from gratuitious vaccination and the possible loss of civil liberties — including the right to refuse said vaccination — due to “redefined” meanings of words like “pandemic” and the ceding by governments of national sovereignty to international bodies like the WHO.

    Note what’s happening in the Ukraine, for instance:

    Is “not-see conspiracy” too strong a term for what’s unfolding these days around planet earth?

  3. Josie

    I decided when the flu shot came out for H1 I wasn’t going to get it, not because of side effects but because I had only gotten the regular flu twice in the last ten yrs… Well I ended up with H1, I’m 58 a pretty healthy person, I would rather get the H1 shot, then go through what I have , having the swine flu… it drains you of your strength , your eating , drinking, breathing , fevers , cold chills, so many things that can happen to health… I have had it for 5 days and am still having dificulty..I am on tamiflu , it has helped , can feel myself getting better .. to say to much has been made of the H1 is so wrong, to insist and keep insisting people need to have the H1 vacine is the right thing for the Government , Health Department to do.. my brothers son who is only two years old has H1 , please don’t make light of this , to do so is wrong …I strongly recommend that people get the H1 flu shot…side effects the least of your worries, but getting H1 is sometimes a killer… pick one …

  4. thebovine

    Josie, that’s why it’s so important to leave people free to make their own informed choice on health care decisions like vaccination.

    Thank you for commenting and sharing your experience.

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