Back Goldfinch looking backwards

After reading Barbara Fisher’s paper I was stunned to read this on a Department of Homeland Security web page: “During a typical year in the United States, 30,000 to 50,000 persons die as a result of influenza viral infection. Frequently cited numbers are 20,000 deaths each year, and 37,000 annual deaths. About 5-10% of hospitalizations for influenza lead to fatal outcome in adults.” But the highest number of deaths due to flu since 1980 is about 3,000, for 1981 and 2009 if we are to trust the completely documented Fisher report. (Homeland Security feels no need to give references to back up its claims. Fisher attacks them in their one-time CDC appearance in her article above, quick look with my bird:)

I made up the chart below from data in Barbara Loe Fischer’s article, “Influenza Deaths: The Hype vs. The Evidence” of 10-2-2012. It’s a cool piece of rationality in the midst of this (Jan 2013) mid-winter explosion of flu hysteria.

Fisher notes, “The first experimental influenza vaccines were given to soldiers in World War II. It wasn't until the 1957-58 and 1968-69 influenza pandemics that the vaccine was marketed to civilians.”

(excerpt from the Barbara Fisher article linked on this page. Footnotes not linked.)

Counting Influenza Deaths & A Whole Lot More

    In 2003, CDC employees also used a convoluted statistical modeling scheme to "estimate" that 36,000 people die from influenza in the U.S. every year. Again, they counted not just influenza death cases but also threw in other respiratory, circulatory, cardiac and pulmonary deaths they thought might have been associated with influenza.31

    And they got away with it.

    In 2005, a young PhD candidate at MIT published an article in the British Medical Journal and asked the question: "Are U.S. Flu Death Figures More PR Than Science?"32 He analyzed the U.S. Vital Statistics Mortality Data, which has been carefully recorded for more than a century by the National Center for Health Statistics. I recently looked at that Vital Statistics data, too, and created a chart of influenza and pneumonia deaths recorded between 1940 and 2010.33

Recorded Influenza Deaths Dropping in 21st Century

    Here is what I found: Since 1940, the highest number of influenza deaths recorded in a single year was 21,047 deaths in 1941. In fact, the mortality rate from influenza was NOT rising in the late 20th century – as the CDC employees have alleged – it was dropping.

    There were only between 600 and 750 influenza deaths recorded annually between 1995 and 1997.34 The most influenza deaths recorded in a single year since 1979 was about 2,900 deaths and that was in 2009, the H1N1 swine flu pandemic year! (see table here)