CDC Expected To Revise H1N1 Mortality FiguresThe New York Times: "About 4,000 Americans rather than about 1,200 have died of swine flu since the disease emerged in April, according to new figures being calculated by [CDC] epidemiologists" an estimate that combines the number of "deaths from laboratory-confirmed cases of the flu and deaths that appear to be brought on by flu, even though the patient may have ultimately died of bacterial pneumonia, other infections or organ failure." The article includes comments by several flu experts on the significance of the estimates (McNeil, 11/10).
ABC News examines how the public might respond to the new H1N1-related deaths calculations. "The death toll from H1N1 may alarm many, but it is the population affected, rather than sheer numbers of deaths, that has had more impact. 'I'm not sure how closely the public has been following the numbers -- 4,000 seems a small fraction of the 36,000 estimated to die of seasonal influenza each year, but these deaths are in younger people so it may raise consciousness further,' said Dr. George Rutherford, director of the University of California, San Francisco, Institute for Global Health. 'Just because you haven't gotten to 36,000 doesn't mean it's not bad'" (Brownstein, 11/12).
Reuters: Meanwhile, the CDC reported Tuesday on an increase in the number of H1N1 vaccines arriving in the U.S. Anne Schuchat, of the CDC, "said 41.1 million doses of H1N1 vaccines are either available or have been delivered but that state and local health officials still face logistical problems." One of the issues in play, she said, is "the frugality of the public health infrastructure." Schuchat was speaking at a Senate health committee hearing and said, "I can't tell you how many times in our outreach to our counterparts that we got messages back saying 'It's Friday, we are furloughed' or 'We are out today'" (Fox , 11/10).
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