Posted by: davidbowerkingwood | March 9, 2020

A Flu Virus Puzzle!

A Strange Comparison Between Two Different Flu Viruses
It is easily observed that reactions to the Coronavirus are producing changes in the way we live our lives today. While there may be one or more good reasons for this, it puzzles me that two different viruses can produce such widely divergent reactions from so many.
The “Centers for Disease Control and Prevention” publishes statistics on a regular basis; the following is from their website:
COVID-19: (Coronavirus) U.S. at a Glance* Updated March 9, 2020
  • Total cases: 423
  • Total deaths: 19
  • States reporting cases: 35 (includes District of Columbia)

* Data include both confirmed and presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 reported to CDC or tested at CDC since January 21, 2020, with the exception of testing results for persons repatriated to the United States from Wuhan, China and Japan. State and local public health departments are now testing and publicly reporting their cases. In the event of a discrepancy between CDC cases and cases reported by state and local public health officials, data reported by states should be considered the most up to date.

On the other hand:

A(H1N1)pdm09: U.S. at a Glance*

  • Outpatient ILI and clinical laboratory data remain elevated but decreased for the third week in a row.
  • Nationally, influenza A(H1N1)pdm09 viruses are now the most commonly reported influenza viruses this season. Previously, influenza B/Victoria viruses predominated nationally.
  • Overall, hospitalization rates remain similar to this time during recent seasons, but rates among school aged children and young adults are higher at this time than in recent seasons and rates among children 0-4 years old are now the highest CDC has on record at this point in the season, surpassing rates reported during the second wave of the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.
  • Pneumonia and influenza mortality has been low, but 136 influenza-associated deaths in children have been reported so far this season. This number is higher for the same time period than in every season since reporting began in 2004-05, except for the 2009 pandemic.
  • CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 34 million flu illnesses, 350,000 hospitalizations and 20,000 deaths from flu.
  • Antiviral medications are an important adjunct to flu vaccine in the control of influenza. Almost all (>99%) of the influenza viruses tested this season are susceptible to the four FDA-approved influenza antiviral medications recommended for use in the U.S. this season.

I can’t help bu wonder why COVID-19 is causing such widespread concern, while the more conventional, but much more pervasive and deadly A(H1N1)pdm09 is being essentially ignored. The difference in the published statistics of the two viruses is rather provocative, I would say; 20,000 versus 19 deaths is a rather dramatic difference.

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