by Chris Masterjohn
This past Saturday, President Obama declared the country to be in a state of National Emergency in response to the H1N1 swine flu "epidemic." You can read the text of the proclamation here.
Just three days earlier, CBS News released the results of a study it had conducted suggesting that swine flue statistics are hugely inflated:
CBS News — Swine Flu Cases Overestimated?
The title of the story is an understatement. The label of the pie chart assembly shown below, "H1N1 Tests Overwhelmingly Negative," taken from the same article, is more accurate.
In July, the CDC had directed states to stop testing for true cases of H1N1 swine flu infection. Now we can only tally "probable" swine flu cases, as if most of these cases are actually swine flu.
How likely is that to be the case? CBS News surveyed state statistics prior to the CDC stop-testing order and found that only a small minority of probable swine flu cases subjected to laboratory testing — often as little as one or two percent — were confirmed to be swine flu. In fact, the vast majority of these cases tested negative for any form of flu!
Hysteria over the swine flu is building. In Massachusetts, for example, a statute passed both houses of the legislature allowing the governor to declare an emergecy and authorize police to vaccinate the population, taking children from parents, and incarcerating those who fail to comply without a trial:
Friday, the Superintendent of Grafton High School in Massachusetts closed the school down until this Wednesday due to a "possible swine flu" outbreak and directed children not to interact with one another over the break. According to the Boston Globe article, the Superintendent claimed that two cases were laboratory-confirmed swine flu. An agent from the Grafton Board of Health, which advised against closing the school, by contrast, claimed that none of the cases were laboratory-confirmed swine flu.
The swine flu hysteria continues to build, but the CBS News study suggests the emperor is wearing no clothes.
Read more about the author, Chris Masterjohn, here.