Saturday, 24 October 2009

Swine flu emergency

The US government has declared swine flu a national emergency. This is essentially an administrative move designed to give the authorities a freer hand in dealing with the disease, but it also reflects the widespread worry that the virus could become a more formidable foe as winter approaches.

More than 1,000 deaths have been linked to the illness in America, while in Britain the figure is 122, with nearly 100 others currently critically ill. Over the last week, the number of cases in the UK almost doubled to 53,000, but earlier estimates that we might start seeing 100,000 new cases a day (see my blog of July 6) have been scaled back dramatically, and the UK authorities are predicting a total of perhaps 1,000 deaths.

The World Health Organisation says that nearly 5,000 people have died from swine flu across the globe, and that there have been more than 400,000 confirmed cases, though it says this is a very considerable underestimate as countries are no longer required to report individual cases.

See also my blogs of Feb 5, May 13, and July 11.

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