Did the WHO Knowingly Hype Swine Flu?
Having spread H1N1 swine flu hysteria for nearly a year, the World Health Organization's "swine flu czar," Keiji Fukuda, last week finally "fessed up" to agency wrongdoing. But it's like listening to Enron admitting to a tabulation error. "I think we did not convey the uncertainty" about the risks of the flu strain, he said.
Sorry, but this was no poor communications problem. Indeed, earlier this year Wolfgang Wodarg, an epidemiologist with the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, accused the WHO of creating a "false pandemic" that's "one of the greatest medicine scandals of the century."
At the least, by portraying as a raging razorback what proved to be more of a pathetic piglet, the WHO needlessly scared the public, wasted vast billions of dollars, destroyed the value of the term "flu pandemic" and perhaps left the organization's reputation "tarnished" and "irreparably damaged," as one authority put it.
A year ago, Fukuda was comparing swine flu's potential with the Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 20 million to 50 million worldwide in 1918-19, with more than half a million here. (Extrapolating to today's population, that would be 1.5 million.) Now, with the annual U.S. epidemic ending, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates we've had had perhaps 12,000 total deaths -- a third of the usual number. (Almost all the infections this year were swine flu.) About 140 million doses of swine flu vaccine appeared headed for the trash heap. France and Japan say their epidemics have been far milder. Last July an Associated Press headline declared, "Britain Braces for 100,000 Swine Flu Cases a Day." Actual deaths: 457.
It's not as if the WHO knew nothing about the mildness of H1N1 early on. I wrote about it on May 1, subsequently publishing 14 articles in major publications on what I immediately dubbed hysteria. If I knew better, there's no reason the WHO shouldn't have known better.
Read More from GlobalResearch.ca