The Corner

Don’t Forget About H1N1

The Telegraph just ran a scary story saying that Sir Liam Donaldson, England’s chief medical officer and one of the top officials of their National Health Service, told the NHS to prepare for up to 65,000 swine-flu deaths this winter. In a normal year, the flu kills 6,000 to 10,000 people in the U.K. If we average that range and assume 8,000 annual deaths, then take the same multiplier and apply it to the average annual U.S. flu deaths of 36,000, we are looking at approximately 292,500 deaths in the U.S this winter. Sir Liam’s low-range estimate was 19,000 deaths, which would still translate into 85,500 U.S. deaths. These are, of course, very rough estimates, done on my desktop calculator, but the folks in the White House can do basic math as well, and it is probably no coincidence that President Obama just designated $1.825 billion in emergency funding for pandemic preparedness. 


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