Thursday, 3 September 2009

UK downgrades Swine flu fatality to 0.1% from 0.35%

Only Malaysia, Australia and New Zealand is estimating deaths at much
less than 0.1% when actual confirmed data indicates 0.4%.

In UK, it is understandable because they use Tamilflu liberally but
this 0.1% figure could be when Tamilflu was prescribed liberally. Just
a few weeks ago, UK changed its policies, limiting Tamilflu to only
those with underlying diseases, which had resulted in deaths of even
healthy ones, the most publicised was the one in Lancaster.

In Malaysia the optimistically low figure was the inclusion of the
unverified 20 times more undetected Swine Flu cases. Just as those who
estimates millions of cases in USA a few months ago. Surprisingly it
is still millions of swine flu cases still after a few months have

Relying on unfounded estimates is like relying on black magic, instead
of scientific data.

Swine flu won't be as dangerous as we thought, official says

The estimate of the number of Britons who will die of swine flu this
winter has fallen dramatically after health experts admitted the virus
is less lethal then they feared

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* Severin Carrell, Scotland correspondent
*, Thursday 3 September 2009 14.52 BST
* Article history

Swine flu microscope

Scottish health secretary Nicola Sturgeon has revised downwards the
official predictions for the swine flu death toll this winter.
Photograph: CS Goldsmith/AP

The official estimate of the number of Britons who could die this
winter from swine flu is to be reduced substantially to roughly 20,000
because health experts have decided the virus is far less lethal than
first feared.

Ministers and health officials predicted in July that up to 65,000
people could be killed across the UK by the H1N1 virus, as infection
rates accelerated over the summer and deaths began to mount.

But the Scottish health secretary, Nicola Sturgeon, said this morning
that that official worst case scenario had been revised downwards,
with experts now predicting a death rate of 0.1%, much lower than the
initial estimate of 0.35%.

Swine flu infections have continued over the summer and at least 66
people have died. Ministers still believe the number of cases will
rise steeply this winter, causing a full-blown epidemic and putting
public services and businesses under severe strain.

The new estimate is expected to be confirmed by Sir Liam Donaldson,
the chief medical officer for England and Wales, this afternoon.

Sturgeon's statement to the Scottish parliament today confirms strong
signals from government advisers, including the Scottish chief medical
officer Harry Burns, that H1N1 is a relatively mild virus. Burns and
other health experts noted that in the US, fatalities were rare.

Even so, health services, council morgues and crematoria, and the
economy could be put under severe strain. Sturgeon said that up to 30%
of the population could fall ill. Millions of people may have the H1N1
at the same time.

An official UK report published today warns: "It is possible that the
virus may mutate, becoming more virulent, and it is important to
remain prepared for the full range of possibilities."

Sturgeon disclosed that the first swine flu vaccines are due to be
given to key target groups, such as pregnant women, people with weak
immune systems and their immediate families, and people over 65, from
mid-October onwards.

The European Medicines Agency is expected to license the vaccines
later this month or in early October. The vaccination programme would
be backed up by a UK-wide publicity and public information campaign,
and 13 million people across the UK are expected to be vaccinated in
the first phase.

She said: "Estimates of delivery of vaccine from the manufacturers are
subject to change, but the current assessment suggests over 54m
vaccine doses will be delivered to the UK by the end of December. From
this we estimate a potential delivery to Scotland in the region of
300-350,000 doses per week from the date when the vaccine is

She said the revised death rates estimate did not take account of the
vaccination programme, which could significantly cut the death rates
by targeting some of the most vulnerable groups.

"Furthermore, they are not predictions; they are assumptions that
allow us to plan for the worst, while continuing to hope for the
best," she said. "And while having lower estimates for hospitalised
cases and fatalities is positive, the assumptions will be kept under

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