Azara Blog: Yet another warning about a global flu pandemic

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Date published: 2006/12/22

The BBC says:

A global flu pandemic could kill 62 million people, experts have warned.

The 1918 pandemic claimed 50 million lives, and experts in The Lancet predict the toll today would be higher than this, despite medical advances.

The world's poorest nations would be hardest hit, fuelled by factors such as HIV and malaria infections, the Harvard University researchers believe.

Yet developing countries can least afford to prepare for a pandemic, which needs to be addressed, they say.

Lethal global flu epidemics tend to occur three or four times a century.

Some scientists believe a new one may be imminent and could be triggered by bird flu.

They run this story every year. And of course sooner or later they will be correct. But it's a bit ridiculous. The death toll of 62 million people is pretty much just made up. And the population of the world now is over three times what it was in 1918, so the comparison with the death toll then is misleading. And surprise, poor people do worse than rich people when there is a pandemic. Who would have thought that?

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