Wednesday, August 26, 2009

News Talk Online August 27, 2009: Call To Close Schools Over Swine Flu Fears


Sign of the times

A top health adviser to President Obama says half of all Americans could contract the swine flu and 90,000 people could die.

Meanwhile, it appears that a swine flu vaccine won't be ready until Thanksgiving. So what's the best public health policy to pursue?

A 22-year-old Columbia University graduate believes he has the answer.

Justin Kamen, founder of the group Students Prep America, believes school openings should be delayed until a vaccine is available.


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Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/4nitsirk/3777148973/




7 comments:

Anonymous said...

http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/general_info.htm

"A top health adviser to President Obama says half of all Americans could contract the swine flu and 90,000 people could die."

Well thanks for creating another panic! Are they so desperate to pass SB3200 that they are trying to manufacture panic?

Why the panic now? We have a swine flu vaccine; and the death toll in Mexico has just now reached 179.

So far, there have been 522 deaths attributed to the Swine Flu ( CDC http://www.cdc.gov/flu/weekly/ ).

Note this information:

"The number of reported cases per 100,000 population** was highest among people in the 5 years to 24 years of age group (26.7 per 100,000). This was followed by those in the 0 to 4 years of age group, whose case rate was 22.9 per 100,000 people. The rate declined further to 6.97 people per 100,000 in the 25 years to 49 years of age group. The rate was 3.9 per 100,000 people in the 50 years to 64 years of age group. At 1.3 people per 100,000, the novel H1N1 flu infection rate was lowest in people 65 years and older."

One theory is that those over 65 have a lower rate because the traditional flu shot keeps the swine flu from having minimal symptoms and because those over 65 get the pneumonia shot, they're less prone to the upper respiratory infection common with swine flu.

BUT SAYING 90,000 PEOPLE COULD DIE? Someone's been watching old movies!

-LD McLellan

Gary Baumgarten said...

Except that public health officials say there will be no vaccine available before Thanksgiving.

You should come to the show and challenge the guest.

Justin Kamen said...

The last H1N1 pandemic occurred in 1918. That pandemic started in the spring, when very few deaths were reported. However, the virus returned in October, killing over 100,000 Americans in one month. Like the current pandemic virus, the Spanish Flu of 1918 targeted children and young adults. Though seasonal flu kills about 36,000 Americans each year, most of them are elderly. So far, the median hospitalization age for Novel H1N1 patients has been 17 years old. For these reasons, preemptive school closures are highly advisable to protect the lives of American students and to limit the spread of this potentially fatal disease.

Anonymous said...

"Except that public health officials say there will be no vaccine available before Thanksgiving.

You should come to the show and challenge the guest."

LOL you don't want me as a guest dear. As for the no vaccine predictions, again, if people are getting their regular flu shot AND their pneumonia vac., while they may get it, they won't get it AS bad.

Anonymous said...

Justin said: " So far, the median hospitalization age for Novel H1N1 patients has been 17 years old. For these reasons, preemptive school closures are highly advisable to protect the lives of American students and to limit the spread of this potentially fatal disease."

I live in one of the densest school districts in the state of Texas and one of the largest in the US (and by dense I am not talking about intellectual capacities...)

Last year they did a pre-emptive closure. Students ended up having to make up time in the heat coming summer, which can be up in the mid - high 90's here. Thankfully it was milder this year and we didn't see tripple digits right away.

The FWISD has determined that unless the CDC recommends closures, they will instead focus on prevention. Nothing wrong with hand washing and using a hanky or coughing into your sleeve.

On a humorous side note, my own community decided to enact a "no nose picking" law making it a finable offence to dig for the gold in your nose in a public place. This is actually part of the prevention strategy and will apply even if it's kids doing it. The fine? It will be $25.00 for the first offense.

hehehehehehehehe

(No really, they are doing this!)

-LD McLellan

Alec said...

LD--when it comes to the health and/or lives of these same students, imagine how silly it is to talk about having school during the summer. I'd hate to be the one that argued against closing schools when half the student body is sick, and in a school setting, that's a very real possibility.

It is the non-pharmaceutical, public health interventions that will determine how well we as a community weather a pandemic. Face it: there is absolutely no way the United States will have enough vaccine in time for everyone, much less students. There is no way that there will be enough anti-virals stockpiled for everyone to get a dose. If the pandemic is widespread, there will be a run on the hospitals like there was during the Spring in New York City. That will leave many without access to professional medical care.

Telling people to wash their hands and cover their coughs is a great start, but it's not enough.

Google "Philadelphia vs St Louis 1918." Despite mounting flu deaths, Philadelphia went forward and held public events and gatherings. St Louis shut them down. Which city had the better survival rate?

Anonymous said...

The last time I checked, we lived in 2009, not 1918. Our general sanitation is better and we have the antivirals. Some 522 people died from swine flu in the US thus far. That's not good, but its not even near the number that die from REGULAR influenza every year.

The population involved is a younger population over all. We just had our first texas case for the year- a 52 year old woman with OTHER medical issues that made her more susceptible to death from the flu (swine or otherwise).

We need to cease panicking (which is "reaction") and ACT. The best action is prevention. Teaching that helps tremendously.

-LD McLellan

btw.. the CDC agrees with me (big cheeky grin here) hehehe