The white coats over at the Centers for Disease Control have issues a bad news/good news report regarding the outbreak of the H1N1 influenza virus — better known by its stage name, “swine flu.” The bad news is that more than 57 million Americans have gotten sick with H1N1. The good news, in a backhanded way, is that only around 0.02% of the cases were fatal.
The approximately 11,700 tragic deaths in the U.S. from H1N1 pale in comparison to previous flu pandemics, like the one in 1918. That plague had an estimated mortality rate of over 10% and claimed the lives of more than 500,000 people in the U.S. alone, and nearly 50 million globally.
In the report, the CDC warns that, though the spread of the virus is slowing, it is still spreading. But with approximately 70 million people having received H1N1 vaccinations, the odds of seeing another significant spike in reported cases are decreasing.
Of the nearly 11,700 deaths from H1N1, the CDC reports that only around 15% were from the 65-and-over age group. This differs greatly from expected flu statistics, wherein approximately 90% of the deaths every season come from this older demographic.
H1N1 Flu Affected 57 Million Americans, CDC Says [Wall Street Journal]