New scientific discoveries keep eating away at the prophecy that “bird flu,” avian influenza type H5N1, will become readily transmissible from human to human and unleash a disastrous pandemic. This leaves little but rhetoric to counter the reality, such as massive death estimates.
Typical is the oft-quoted one of University of Minnesota School of Public Health professor Michael Osterholm, who estimated 180-360 million deaths worldwide simply by extrapolating the estimated death toll from the Spanish flu of 1918-19 to today's world population.
Taking this to heart, neo-con novelist and essayist Mark Helprin has proposed spending 2.5 percent of the national budget, or about 1 percent of GDP, to counter the alleged threat. This when defense spending has gone up only 0.8 percent of GDP since 9/11 to fight the war on terror and two ground wars.
In any event Congress has already allocated $5.6 billion for avian flu, part of which is going to obnoxious “pandemic flu” ads from the CDC that pop up on you while using any software on your computer. That sure makes me feel safer.
Since I began writing on avian flu back in early 1998 and then during the more recent panic in 2005, I’ve driven the scare-mongers – most of them left-wing like the mega-blog Daily Kos – absolutely nuts by pointing out there’s no evidence for a pending pandemic.
Michael Fumento is a, journalist, and attorney specializing in science and health issues as well as author of BioEvolution: How Biotechnology is Changing Our World .
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