Pandemic Update – September 14, 2009

There have been over 3,590 deaths reported due to the new H1N1 virus. However, several countries appear to have stopped reporting their deaths. Brazil has not offiically reported any deaths since last week, when the total was 657. The United States has officially announced that it will no longer count H1N1 deaths. Thus, the true total number of deaths due to the pandemic virus is becoming increasingly difficult to discover.

In North America, the number of new cases appear to be exploding in the United States and Mexico. It is less clear what is happening in Canada. The vast majority of the new cases in the US are associated with the opening of school. At least 15 children, and likely more, have already died as result of going to school and getting infected with the new H1N1. At least two university students have already died. Emergency rooms are starting to be overwhelmed in some hospitals, especially in the South. Increasing concern is being expressed regarding the capacity of ICUs to handle the influx of new cases.

In the Southern Hemisphere, fewer new cases have been reported, although new deaths continue to occur. It is worth noting that during the 1918 pandemic, countries in the Southern Hemisphere experienced their biggest impact during their summer, at the same time that countries in the Northern Hemisphere were experiencing their Fall/Winter.

In Europe, deaths have been reported in more countries. However, countries that had reported large numbers of deaths, the UK and Spain, are reporting few or no additional deaths.

In Asia, India now has reported the greatest numbers of deaths: at least 188. The number of cases and deaths continue to increase rapidly there. Other countries in Asia that had been reporting large numbers of cases, such as Malaysia and Thailand, no longer appear to report all of their deaths. The Indonesian government has apparently decided not to report more than a fraction of their deaths. The Chinese government still does not report any deaths on the mainland, but acknowledges that the situation is “grim”.

Some vaccine is likely to become available in the next few weeks, although it is not clear how much. It is likely that only a small percent of the world’s population will receive vaccine before they are infected with the new H1N1 virus.

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3 thoughts on “Pandemic Update – September 14, 2009

  1. Actually, as far as I know there were registered only 160 lethal cases all over the world. I think that all this rash around the swine flu is pretty much exaggerated.

  2. Actually, there are thousands of lethal cases around the world. These are laboratory-confirmed officially reported deaths. However, there are likely many more deaths that are never reported, especially among the poor.

  3. The last time I heard put forward the “there have been just 160 fatalities” was early in the pandemic when Mexico was reporting. If I remember correctly they stopped counting at 160 in May.

    People, in general, have just stopped listening. I think (as Pixie has written) it was when people heard and internalized the 36,000 die of seasonal flu meme that was pressed early by the CDC.

    The speed that the news cycle can flip will probably surprise even those who have been tracking media flu reports for years. There is a number – some number of dead in a day/week – that will flip the reporting. When that flip happens it’ll be too late for the newly informed to do anything with the information.

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