by Cat Ellis, The Organic Prepper:
We all know that this year’s flu season is bad. I have been pouring over numbers and reports over the past few days, and it’s actually even worse than we’re hearing about. Tens of thousands of Americans are dying. It’s now worse than the 2009 swine flu outbreak and is on track with the 2014-15 strain. And it’s not showing any signs of slowing down.
Despite this, the media is downplaying the severity of the flu and the government makes the statistics pretty difficult to find. Are they trying to avoid a panic? Do they know something we don’t?
Here’s what you need to know about why this year’s flu is so dangerous.
This Year’s Flu Strain Is More Deadly
The dominant Influenza strain this year is H3N2. This particular strain has a history of causing more hospitalizations and more deaths. According to the CDC:
In the past, H3N2-predominant seasons have been associated with more severe illness and higher mortality, especially in older people and young children, relative to H1N1- or B-predominant seasons. Between 1976 and 2007, for example, CDC estimates that an average of 28,909 people died from flu during H3N2 seasons, compared to 10,648 people during non-H3N2 predominant years.
That’s a difference of 18,261 adults each year. And that’s in a good year.
In addition to H3N2 producing a more serious infection in general, this year’s particular H3N2 influenza virus is particularly virulent. The number of deaths due to influenza or complications to the flu, such as pneumonia (a secondary bacterial infection following influenza), varies from year to year.
An August 27, 2010 MMWR report entitled “Thompson MG et al. Updated Estimates of Mortality Associated with Seasonal Influenza through the 2006-2007 Influenza Season. MMWR 2010; 59(33): 1057-1062.,” provided estimates of the range of flu-associated deaths that occurred in the United States during the three decades prior to 2007. CDC estimated that from the 1976-1977 season to the 2006-2007 flu season, flu-associated deaths ranged from a low of about 3,000 to a high of about 49,000 people.
The Current Flu Has Already Killed 44,116 People
In comparison, the current flu has already resulted in 44,116 deaths this flu season. To give that number some meaning, this year’s flu has already led to more deaths than the average for H3N2 years.
Furthermore, we aren’t even in the middle of cold and flu season yet. At 44,116 deaths and counting, we are already nearly to the high end (49,000 people) of the normal flu-associated deaths range.
Fun With Numbers
You would think the CDC would publish an easy-to-find running tally of influenza mortality. They don’t. They only post that information for pediatric mortality. Currently, that number stands at 37.
A total of 37 influenza-associated pediatric deaths have been reported for the 2017-2018 season.
Additional data can be found at: http://gis.cdc.gov/GRASP/Fluview/PedFluDeath.html.
They do, however, provide the information for you to do the math for yourself. On the same page as the above graphic, the CDC provides a chart with the mortality rate presented as a percentage.
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