COVID-19 is far more deadly than Swine Flu epidemic

  • MIKE WATSON IMAGES

Published: 8/5/2020 4:11:51 PM

I must respond to the misinformation in recent letter to the editor from Ruby Rogers. She used Fox News as her source and wrote that 100,000 to 575,000 people died from swine flu under President Obama’s watch. That number is the worldwide death toll.

According to the CDC, in the U.S. there were 12,469 deaths from the swine flu from April 2009 through April 2010. For comparison the U.S. has had 158,000 COVID-19 deaths in the five months since March and 4.8 million cases. Even if they began similarly, COVID-19 is not comparable to the 2009 swine flu epidemic.

Ms. Rogers also claimed that the range (worldwide) of cases was so wide because President Obama and Vice President Biden stopped the testing. Number 1, they certainly had no control over worldwide testing. Number 2, President Obama followed the guidelines of the CDC in their recommendations for testing and the CDC followed the guidance of the World Health Organization.

Dr. Anne Schuchat, then-director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, stated at the time, “The decision followed the World Health Organization’s July 16 announcement that it would no longer issue global reports on the number of confirmed H1N1 cases, given the difficulty of testing such a large number of cases, and the fact that such counts were ‘no longer essential in such countries for monitoring either the level or nature of the risk posed by the pandemic virus or to guide implementation of the most appropriate response measures.’ ” (https://bit.ly/2Pq8IYA)

Number 3, the viruses were very different. “Dr. AmeshAdalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, said that testing for H1N1 was not particularly valuable because the virus was so prevalent, and there was a readily available therapy — Tamiflu and other similar antivirals, which also work on seasonal flu.” 

The swine flu epidemic did spread easily and sicken many people, but it was not any more fatal than the typical seasonal flu. It was also readily apparent when someone contracted it. COVID-19 is far more deadly and is spread during the asymptomatic phase of the illness.

Trump has done a very poor job of leading us through this epidemic’ and far too many lives have been lost on his watch. I look forward to real leadership that will follow Joe Biden’s election in November.

Maura Morrison is a resident of Greenfield.


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