Saturday, October 24, 2009

Swine flu emergency or a bunch of baloney?

Obama declares "pre-emptive" national swine flu emergency giving HHS "extraordinary powers" after only 1,000 deaths nationwide.

What was the big rush? Shouldn't he have consulted with Congress? According to the official statements, this was done "pre-emptively". A pre-emptive emergency? What the hell is that!

Last week was the propaganda piece on H1N1 on "60 Minutes". This week its a "national emergency". And the sneaky bastards snuck it in on a Saturday when no one was paying attention to the news.

According to this "60 minute" propaganda report, the CDC says "the way this virus is spreading is unprecedented". Wo-o-o-o scary! Grab the kids and run Martha!

Before we all panic about the case of Luke Duvall described in this segment, I just want to highlight a brief passage from the transcript.
In Little Rock, the flu tests came back on Luke Duvall: it is 2009 H1N1, but also something else - staph pneumonia on top of the flu virus.

Staphylococcal bacteria came in behind the virus, in that common co-infection seen in the sickest patients.

Asked what that means, Dr. Michele Moss told Pelley, "Well, it means that some of the injury in his lung is due to the virus and due to the flu, but on top of it he's got just a good old fashioned bacterial pneumonia with the toxins from the bacteria causing his blood pressure to be unstable."
So Luke is infected with H1N1, but he also has a staphylococcal bacterial infection. That bacterial infection is in turn causing the pneumonia. And it is the pneumonia that is putting him in mortal danger. You'll see why this important in a minute. Just keep this in mind as you continue reading.

What is a normal number of flu deaths?

Let's take a look at how many deaths are caused by influenza in a normal year in the US to determine if this is indeed an "emergency" situation.

First stop the CDC (Center for Disease Control). Let's see what they consider to be a normal number of deaths for a flu season in the United States. Fair enough question - right? Not according to the CDC website.
How many people died from flu during the 2007-08 season?

Exact numbers of how many people died from flu this season cannot be determined. Flu-associated deaths (which have laboratory confirmed influenza), are only a nationally notifiable condition among children; however not all pediatric influenza deaths may be detected and reported and there is no requirement to report adult deaths from influenza. In addition, many people who die from flu complications are not tested, or they seek medical care later in their illness when flu can no longer be detected from respiratory samples. However, CDC tracks pneumonia and influenza (P&I) deaths through the 122 Cities Mortality Reporting System. This system collects information each week on the total number of death certificates filed in each of the 122 participating cities and the number of death certificates with pneumonia or influenza listed as a cause of death. The 122 Cities Mortality Reporting system helps gauge the severity of a flu season compared with other years. However, only a proportion of all P&I deaths are influenza-related and, as noted, most flu deaths are not lab confirmed. Thus, this system does not allow for an estimation of the number of deaths, only the relative severity among different influenza seasons. For the 2007-08 season, the proportion of deaths due to pneumonia and influenza was higher than the previous two years, but was similar to the 2004-05 season.
So here's the problem as I see it. Influenza often times does not directly lead to death. In many cases the influenza makes a person sick and then that person later contracts another viral or bacterial disease, which may then lead to death. So the whole idea of attributing a certain amount of deaths to influenza is rife with statistical errors.

I did manage to find online a list of the number of deaths for 2006 for various causes provided by the CDC. That should be good enough for this purpose. And here are the results for flu and pneumonia for 2006.
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
For all ages: 56,326
Under 1: 263
1-4: 125
5-14: 68
15-24: 184
25-34: 335
35-44: 841
45-54: 2,007
55-64: 3,154
65-74: 6,061
75-84: 16,668
85 and above: 26,617
Not stated: 3
They then break this down for influenza and pneumonia this way.
Influenza for all ages: 849
Pneumonia  for all ages: 55,477
(They also break it down by age if your interested.)
So most deaths are attributed to pneumonia, although the initial pneumonia may have been caused by flu. But the important thing is that there is no way of knowing what initially caused the pneumonia from these statistics.

For instance during the much discussed 1918 flu pandemic which killed between 20 and 100 million people worldwide, guess what the main cause of death was?
The majority of deaths were from bacterial pneumonia, a secondary infection caused by influenza, but the virus also killed people directly, causing massive hemorrhages and edema in the lung.
If that's the case, then wouldn't it also be true that there could never be a repeat of such a flu pandemic with such high mortalities given the current availability of antibiotics to treat bacterial infections? It can also be assumed that public hygiene has greatly improved since 1918 which would again mean that such an outbreak could not occur in the modern United States. Such things that we take for granted as clean drinking water, indoor plumbing and improved nutrition would have an enormous effect on infection rates. And generally were just healthier to start out with, so there is less susceptibility to illness.

Here is an article from 2008 that backs up my case titled, "Bacteria played role in 1918 viral flu deaths, scientists say".
Most deaths in the 1918 influenza pandemic were due not to the virus alone but to common bacterial infections that took advantage of victims' weakened immune systems, according to two new studies that could change the nation's strategy against the next pandemic.

"We have to realize that it isn't just antivirals that we need," said Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and co-author of one study.

"We need to make sure that we're prepared to treat people with antibiotics," said Fauci, who study will be released online this month by the Journal of Infectious Diseases.

In both studies, scientists analyzed a trove of historical documents from around the world, examining first-hand accounts, medical records and autopsy reports.

Writing about the 1918 influenza outbreak in the August issue of the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases, researchers reported that few deaths were swift, which is what scientists believed characterized a viral pandemic.

Instead, they found that most deaths occurred a week to two weeks later -- indicating that the deaths were the result of opportunistic bacterial infections.
This article suggests that the most important defense against a large number of fatalities due to a flu outbreak is the use of antibiotics. Antibiotics like penicillin have been around for a long time. In fact penicillin was discovered in 1928. That's just 10 years after the famous 1918 flu pandemic. So you have to ask yourself, "if they had penicillin back in 1918, how many lives could have been saved?"

Follow the money

So now it's time to "follow the money". Who would profit from a policy that downplayed the importance of antibiotics in fighting "flu deaths"? (Which are really deaths from bacterial infections.) Hmmm. Let's see. Well, what about the pharmaceutical companies that make anti-viral medicines? And what about the pharmaceutical companies that make flu vaccines?

A little hysteria goes a long way - when it comes to pharmaceutical profits. And a "national flu emergency"? Ka-ching!

"Oh sure, we can have those millions of vaccines ready ASAP, but it'll cost ya extra."

"Anti-viral medicines? Sure, we got that. I can hook you up with a recommended treatment pack of 10 Tamiflu pills at just $120 per pack. At the first sign of symptoms take 1 pill twice a day for 5 days. And you're all set. So now you're gonna need about 50 million packs at $120 per pack... that'll be $6 billion please. You can deposit that directly in my offshore account in the Bahamas - thank you very much."

What about antibiotics like penicillin - how much do they cost? A 30 day supply of penicillin will cost just a few dollars. I'm guessing that penicillin and many other antibiotics are out of patent because they've been around so long. So there isn't going to be the same kind of profit margins as there is for making vaccines or anti-viral medications.
I came across this related article from a few days ago.
Roche Raises Outlook as Pandemic Boosts Tamiflu Sales

Oct. 15 (Bloomberg) -- Roche Holding AG, the world’s biggest maker of cancer drugs, reported a 9.7 percent rise in third-quarter revenue and raised its 2009 sales forecast as more people buy Tamiflu, used to treat pandemic influenza.

Need I say more?
Where have I heard this joke before?

In summary, we have 1,000 nationwide fatalities which may or may not be caused primarily by flu which works out to about 20 deaths per state and Obama is declaring a "national emergency". And of course the national media is just rolling over and playing dead.

Didn't we learn anything from the fake financial "crisis" that resulted in the looting of trillions of dollars from the American people in order to prop up the corrupt Wall Street Banks? Are we just going to repeat this exercise all over again, instead this time the benficiaries will be the giant pharmaceuticals?

And why are they calling it "swine flu" again? Wasn't H1N1 scary enough? Or are they just trying to confuse the heck out of us?


princepersia said...

I've recommended your blog to everybody at I would recommend you to come and take a look at it as well. It's a forum where we do research on most topics in the world today. I think you would like it. Great post btw! Now which politician or banker owns most of these Roche shares?

Frank Hope said...

@princepersia - Thanks for the plug!

Great suggestion about who owns Roche shares. It made me think to look to see who the vaccine manufacturers are donating campaign funds to. It's hard to find out even who the manufacturers are. The MSM never mentions this in their articles.

It looks like Merck is a big one. And coincidentally Merck is a big campaign contributor! See Merck political contributions from Open Secrets website.

Also see this article which mentions that Merck markets "eight of the 10 vaccines U.S. health officials recommend for adults, including Pneumovax 23, recommended for the elderly and people with weak immune systems to protect against 23 strains of pneumococcal disease."