What do you get from a phony flu scare? Among other things, lots of worthless vaccine.
“Despite months of dire warnings and millions in taxpayer dollars, less than half of the 229 million doses of H1N1 vaccine the government bought to fight the pandemic have been administered – leaving an estimated 71.5 million doses that must be discarded if they are not used before they expire.” So reports the Washington Post‘s Rob Stein.
Actually, it’s billions of dollars but who’s counting? And actually Rob Stein contributed to all this with such article ledes as: “Swine flu could infect half the U.S. population this fall and winter, hospitalizing up to 1.8 million people and causing as many as 90,000 deaths – more than double the number that occur in an average flu season, according to an estimate from a presidential panel released Monday.”
Of course, who knew better back then in August? Well, I did. Just days later in the Philadelphia Inquirer I noted statistics showing swine flu to be vastly milder than seasonal flu and said swine flu appears to be replacing the current seasonal H1N1 virus. Therefore, as one former WHO epidemiologist told me, “My bet is that the coming [U.S.] season will not be too severe – at or below that of a usual flu season.”
And indeed, the latest CDC estimate, with the flu almost gone, is that 12,000 Americans have died this season as opposed to the typical 36,000. And as I’ve written, data from other countries indicate the CDC estimates are almost certainly far too high. Did I have access to any information the Washington Post didn’t? Or for that matter The New York Times or Wall Street Journal or USA Today and on and on? Obviously not.
Of course, now the media have moved on to a new hysteria: “Runaway Killer Toyotas.” And they’re playing the same game. Why was I the one who exposed the “runaway Prius” hoax? Did I have access to any information the rest of the media did not?
And yet they’re still not telling the truth about the hoax.
Four days after my piece appeared, the Washington Post declared driver James “Sikes said he tried to free his gas pedal with his hand but did not say whether he put the car in neutral.” As I had noted he repeatedly said he did not try to put the car in neutral, including at a press conference available on the Web and in a CNN interview on the Web. And importantly, the reasons he gave showed beyond any doubt he was lying. That’s why it’s important to the Post that its readers not know that.
The media still pursue stories to be sure. But if you believe they place much value on pursuit of the truth, might I inquire as to the address of the rock under which you’ve been living?