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This past Saturday, President Obama declared the country to be in a state of National Emergency in response to the H1N1 swine flu “epidemic.” You can read the text of the proclamation here.

Just three days earlier, CBS News released the results of a study it had conducted suggesting that swine flue statistics are hugely inflated:

CBS News — Swine Flu Cases Overestimated?

The title of the story is an understatement. The label of the pie chart assembly shown below, “H1N1 Tests Overwhelmingly Negative,” taken from the same article, is more accurate.

In July, the CDC had directed states to stop testing for true cases of H1N1 swine flu infection. Now we can only tally “probable” swine flu cases, as if most of these cases are actually swine flu.

How likely is that to be the case? CBS News surveyed state statistics prior to the CDC stop-testing order and found that only a small minority of probable swine flu cases subjected to laboratory testing — often as little as one or two percent — were confirmed to be swine flu. In fact, the vast majority of these cases tested negative for any form of flu!

Hysteria over the swine flu is building. In Massachusetts, for example, a statute passed both houses of the legislature allowing the governor to declare an emergecy and authorize police to vaccinate the population, taking children from parents, and incarcerating those who fail to comply without a trial:

Friday, the Superintendent of Grafton High School in Massachusetts closed the school down until this Wednesday due to a “possible swine flu” outbreak and directed children not to interact with one another over the break. According to the Boston Globe article, the Superintendent claimed that two cases were laboratory-confirmed swine flu. An agent from the Grafton Board of Health, which advised against closing the school, by contrast, claimed that none of the cases were laboratory-confirmed swine flu.

The swine flu hysteria continues to build, but the CBS News study suggests the emperor is wearing no clothes.

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  1. I'm sorry I've been MIA for a bit — while I think the swine flu issue and the paranoia surrounding it was baloney, there is an obvious flaw in the CBS News article it completely slipped my mind to mention, that they did not release all the data from their study. So for all we know, they cherry-picked.

  2. Dr. Jack Turco, director of Dartmouth College Health Care Sevice wrote on October 6 that as a surveillance site for the State of New Hampshire, that they were doing random swab testing for H1N1 and that of those meeting clinical definition of influenza like illness "we are finding approximately two-thirds of the random tests are positive for H1N1"

  3. But, if the number of cases is lower than previously believed, that just means the case fatality rate of H1N1 is higher than previously thought because when somebody dies, they do get a definitive diagnosis.

    Thus, if the number of H1N1 cases is 10% of what was previously reported, that just means H1N1 is 10 times as deadly.

    Not a huge consolation to me…

  4. This really is a hysteria. I'm so sick of hearing it that I'm considering moving back to Canada where paranoia isn't a common theme.

    What are your thoughts on the vaccine for pregnancy if any?

    Thank you.

    BTW – I posted a poll on this on my facebook profile and it turned into a heated debate. Check it out if you can.

  5. President Barack Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, giving his health chief the power to let hospitals move emergency rooms offsite to speed treatment and protect noninfected patients.

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  6. All hail Obama, the king of the world! (and when I say king, I mean king – like, you're about to become a peasant serf bowing down to the financial oligarchs that rule the planet).

    In other news, my girlfriend came up with the best Halloween costume ever. We are going to be pigs with wings (Swine Flew). Our 2 friends are going to be a nurse and a syringe. It's genius. If anyone else is having trouble coming up with a costume idea, feel free to steal this one.

  7. I have read out the whole article on Swine flu cases and Emergency caption with no evidence.From this information,I come to know the President Obama declared the country to be in a state of National Emergency in response to the H1N1 swine flu "epidemic." I like the idea demonstrated on the given useful video.

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