Flu Watch Dec. 18 – What Swine Flu ISN’T Doing this Week

New infections continued to drop, down this week to only 391 reported by CDC-monitored labs, compared to 1,370 just two weeks before and 11,470 at the height of the epidemic. So that’s a plummet of over 96% from the height. Deaths and hospitalizations are less than half those of last week, and while formerly the CDC refrained from releasing exact numbers it’s now doing so. So the exact number of deaths for last week is 56.

Remember that according to CDC estimates, about 257 Americans die of seasonal flu per day during flu season. Of course, the swine flu deaths are actual while the seasonal flu ones are estimates so it’s not a completely apples-to-apples comparison.

Only 11 states still report widespread activity, down slightly from 14 last weeks.

Finally, cases do continue to come in at above the epidemic threshold nationally. On college campuses it’s a different picture, though. College cases of CDC-defined “influenza-like illness” are definitely at an endemic level, having dropped all the way down to 4.1 cases per 10,000 slightly up to 5.2 and then slightly down to 3.4 They should stay more or less in that range for the rest of the flu season with perhaps higher cases coming in February at the peak of the normal seasonal flu season. Colleges are still reporting only three deaths out of more than 87,000 cases.

No, swine flu isn’t doing much this week. And that’s its future. It’s just plain lazy, happy to roll around in the mud while infecting impressive numbers of people but killing very few. Too bad it can’t kill the reputations of the doomsayers who declared it a “pandemic” and compared it to the horrible Spanish flu of 1918-1919.