Quick – panic and blow this pandemic out of proportion!!!

Sundstrom_fyll_face_mask You know, I like a good scare story as much as the next guy, but the headlines in the news today are unconscionable:

“US deaths likely from swine flu”
“CDC predicts US fatalities”
“Swine flu claims first US victim”

People: turn off your cable TV, please.  Each year, an average of 36,000 Americans die from influenza.  For more than a dozen weeks in the winter of 2007-8 the rate of influenza infection was at epidemic proportions.  And yet we don’t see these banner headlines each Autumn.

Let’s get a sense of perspective here.  Yes, the CDC is being cautious.  That’s their job.  Dr. Richard Besser, acting head of the CDC, pointed out in an interview on the Today show that he does not believe the flu has become more dangerous and that even with the seasonal flu, there are some people who are more susceptible to it.  But that note of caution, reason and common sense got drowned out by the drumbeats of sensationalism.