150 people dead in Mexico .... out of, what, 108 million? I mean, it's sad for their families and everything, but.. pandemic? Really? I don't think this counts as a pandemic. I don't even think it qualifies as an epidemic. Let's consult Merriam Webster:
ep·i·dem·ic : affecting or tending to affect a disproportionately large number of individuals within a population, community, or region at the same time
pan·dem·ic : occurring over a wide geographic area and affecting an exceptionally high proportion of the population
It's less than 1% of the population. Just of Mexico. Actually, it's like one/1,000,000th of the population. Previous pandemics have killed up to 1/2 the population of a given continent (or the human population... let's see, divided by... carry the one... 2/100,000,000th of the world pop).
Then I went to the BBC news website. Here's what it had to say regarding numbers in this "pandemic":
- Out of 168 deaths in Mexico, only 8 are confirmed to be swine flu.
- There is 1 confirmed death in the U.S.
- In the rest of the world, there are a total of 157 confirmed and 13 suspected cases.
U.S.-109 confirmed cases. That's cases, NOT deaths.
New Zealand-3 confirmed, 13 suspected cases.
Canada-19 confirmed cases.
U.K.-8 confirmed cases.
Spain-10 confirmed cases.
Israel, Costa Rica-2 confirmed cases each.
Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Peru-1 confirmed case each.
So that's a total, then, of 9 confirmed deaths from swine flu, and 160 more possible deaths. Since all 170 of the instances where people have the virus have evidently been reported, one presumes that those people are seeking medical attention and are going to recover, since it's easily treatable. An international panic is happening over 9 deaths.
Let's assume pessimistically for a moment that all 160 unconfirmed deaths in Mexico turn out to be definitely swine flu. And let's also suppose that those 170 other reported cases die as well. That's a total of 339 deaths. Now let's suppose those people have all infected 3 other people each, and those people all die. That's a total of 1,356 deaths from swine flu. Now let's look at the world population: and we'll round down to 6.7 million. Even assuming this, it's still only 2/100,000ths of the population of the world.
Again, look at the definitions of epidemic and pandemic above. To me, an "exceptionally high proportion of the population" is just that... exceptionally high. Like, 25% high. But let's say, for the sake of argument, that 10% can be considered exceptionally high. That means a minimum of 670,000 people need to be infected. We've got 669,661 cases to go before we reach epidemic proportions. Can we please stop panicking about every little thing? Please?
It's no Black Death, people (cripes, it's not even the Hong Kong flu epidemic of '68). Now there's a pandemic for you.
Here's something to make you feel better though:
Aww! Now there's something you could die from... perhaps it should be called the Adorable Death.
(Cross-posted at Vox)