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Swine Flu and Me

Swine Flu and Me

Two things are true at the same time: Wuhan Coronavirus should be taken seriously as a public health danger, and Democrats and the media are trying to weaponize it for election purposes.

In September 2009, I caught Swine Flu during the semester when I was at Cornell in Ithaca. It was brutal.

For the first time I understood how the flu could kill someone.

It went straight for my lungs. It felt like someone parked a truck on my chest, and I had high fever. I was lucky to be able to get to a doctor before it became really bad and was given Tamiflu and the types of inhalers people with asthma use to keep my lungs open. I needed refills on the inhalers, and I’m convinced they kept me alive.

The good news was that I lost 15 lbs. in two weeks, and fit into clothing I hadn’t fit into in years. The bad news is that I almost died to get there, and gained the weight back in a month.

I was not alone. 700 people at Cornell contracted Swine Flu by September 2009, whereas the much larger Syracuse University an hour north had only 5 cases, showing how unpredictable the spread was.

A Cornell student with a preexisting respiratory condition died. I wrote at the time, Cornell Loses Student To Swine Flu:

With the politics which seems to dominate all our lives, it is easy to lose sight of what matters most.

This afternoon the Cornell University community lost one of our undergraduate students to swine flu. As the father of three college-age students, my heart goes out to the family.

As someone also sidelined with swine flu myself, I implore you not to take the symptoms lightly.

I thank the Obama and Bush administrations for the advance planning for an outbreak.

Be smart and safe. And say a prayer.

The Swine Flu statistics were staggering, according to this CDC publication:

The (H1N1)pdm09 virus was very different from H1N1 viruses that were circulating at the time of the pandemic. Few young people had any existing immunity (as detected by antibody response) to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus, but nearly one-third of people over 60 years old had antibodies against this virus, likely from exposure to an older H1N1 virus earlier in their lives. Since the (H1N1)pdm09 virus was very different from circulating H1N1 viruses, vaccination with seasonal flu vaccines offered little cross-protection against (H1N1)pdm09 virus infection. While a monovalent (H1N1)pdm09 vaccine was produced, it was not available in large quantities until late November—after the peak of illness during the second wave had come and gone in the United States. From April 12, 2009 to April 10, 2010, CDC estimated there were 60.8 million cases (range: 43.3-89.3 million), 274,304 hospitalizations (range: 195,086-402,719), and 12,469 deaths (range: 8868-18,306) in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus.

The NY Times reported on October 24, 2009 that 1,000 people already had died in the U.S.:

President Obama has declared the swine flu outbreak a national emergency, allowing hospitals and local governments to speedily set up alternate sites for treatment and triage procedures if needed to handle any surge of patients, the White House said on Saturday.

The declaration came as thousands of people lined up in cities across the country to receive vaccinations, and as federal officials acknowledged that their ambitious vaccination program has gotten off to a slow start. Only 16 million doses of the vaccine were available now, and about 30 million were expected by the end of the month. Some states have requested 10 times the amount they have been allotted.

Flu activity — virtually all of it the swine flu — is now widespread in 46 states, a level that federal officials say equals the peak of a typical winter flu season. Millions of people in the United States have had swine flu, known as H1N1, either in the first wave in the spring or the current wave.

Although there has been no exact count, officials said the H1N1 virus has killed more than 1,000 Americans and hospitalized over 20,000….

The department [of Health and Human Services] first declared a public health emergency in April; Ms. Sebelius renewed it on Tuesday. But the separate presidential declaration was required to waive federal laws put in place to protect patients’ privacy and to ensure that they are not discriminated against based on their source of payment for care, including Medicare, Medicaid and the states’ Children’s Health Insurance Program.

There was a sense of panic with the Swine Flu, but nowhere near the hysteria we are seeing now regarding Wuhan Coronavirus, certainly not at this early stage.

But I do remember that then, as now, Democrats and the media tried to blame Republicans, specifically spreading false claims that Republicans had prevented funding pandemic preparations (sound familiar?). I wrote the prior April 2009, when Swine Flu first emerged, how the media was misrepresenting the preparedness,  The Truth Is The First Victim Of Swine Flu.

There is a big difference between then and now. It was not an election year. Obama was in his first year of his first term. Trump is in the fourth year of his first term, so the Wuhan Coronavirus media frenzy combines real panic with hyperventilated anti-Trump news coverage.

Two things are true at the same time: Wuhan Coronavirus should be taken seriously as a public health danger, and Democrats and the media are trying to weaponize it for election purposes. They want this so badly to be Trump’s Katrina or Chernobyl.

Keep things in historical perspective. Viruses kill lots and lots of people, despite preparation and treatment. So don’t take Wuhan Coronavirus lightly. But that doesn’t mean you need to panic.

Prepare, but don’t let the media panic you.


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healthguyfsu | March 9, 2020 at 8:07 pm

With a little biological justice, one of these political fear mongers will die of the most undignified cause imaginable.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 9, 2020 at 8:54 pm

    “The average age of death is age 80….”




    So half of those dying from Corona are OVER 80 years old!

    JusticeDelivered in reply to healthguyfsu. | March 9, 2020 at 10:49 pm

    The Swine flu caused me to install germicidal UVC lights in both my home and office cold air returns. Their light level is strong enough to kill fungus, virus and bacterial in the air stream. Doing so was in part due to having Epstein Barr a few years before that. That made me sick for over six months.

      Just an observation from someone who worked on HVAC systems for about 45 years, ten of those in hospitals. Putting UVC lights in the return air duct does nothing for the dirt and fungus growing downstream, especially on cooling coils. It’s better to install them in the discharge air stream immediately downstream of the coils. That way the germicidal effects not only kill airborne spores and bacteria, they also help keep the coils clean by killing fungi on the coils.

        JusticeDelivered in reply to DSHornet. | March 10, 2020 at 10:03 am

        That is a good point, but since this was a retrofit, I could not put them downstream, but I have injected a mist of Tree Tea Oil one a year into the system each Fall with all the widows open, and the ducts are vacuumed out every five years.

Colonel Travis | March 9, 2020 at 8:12 pm

I’m not going to get into specifics, also I value the opinion of our Prof. and agree with this posting, but the irresponsible jerks in the media who are fanning the flames of this disease have today directly affected our household. My anger is considerable.

This is a classic example of why I do not pay for cable or satellite any more, I do not watch TV news, I will not give money to the very people who hate my guts because of my politics.

At the same time, the ripple effects of this irresponsibility are doing serious damage. Lot of money going down the tubes now, not just talking about the stock market.

It is wrong and it is dangerous. And these honest-to-God idiots want to control every aspect of our lives?

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Colonel Travis. | March 9, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    That “Media Hype & Panic” probably has a lot to do with 2/3s of Democrats thinking their party is going in the wrong direction.

    Morning Consult Poll: Only One Third of Democrat Party Voters Say the Democrat Party Is “Headed in the Right Direction”

    Agreed. The youngest son’s company serves trade shows and large corporate meetings with technical support. He already had equipment in Moscow on the Colorado (Austin to non-Texans) for the South By Southwest (SXSW) show. Not only has the company lost the income from that show, because of the decision to cancel coming on the eve of the show they had to send people to retrieve the equipment they already had put in place, suffering the cost of sending it and recovering it. And SXSW isn’t the only cancellation they have had so far.

    The Socialist-Democrats are doing their damnedest to tank the economy as they never let a crisis go to waste without weaponizing it or using it to get whatever the people really don’t want through and in place. Everyone remembers the huge outcry from the MSM during the 2017-2018 Influenza season when the CDC estimates about 80,000 people died in the US from the flu, including 186 children – more than the previous highest total of 171 in 2012-2013 (children’s Flu fatalities are required to be reported to CDC, adult numbers are estimated).

    What? You don’t recollect any huge hue and cry from the MSM/Socialist-Democrats (a singularity)? Yeah, probably because there wasn’t one. At the time they were still placing their hopes on China, China, CHINA!!

I won’t make predictions, but the virus panic and the stock market crash are badly timed for the democrats. There’s eight months before the election.

    Edward in reply to Petrushka. | March 10, 2020 at 12:20 pm

    they hope to keep the country, economy and markets in turmoil until the morning of 3 November. If they do the propaganda in such a way as to make Herr Doktor Josef Gõbbels proud they might manage it.

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | March 9, 2020 at 8:37 pm


“The media is attempting to initiate panic about the Coronavirus in 2020 the same way the media attempted to manufacture panic about an upcoming U.S. recession in 2019. The level of panic pushing is over-the-top ridiculous.

Never let a crisis go to waste… And right on cue the Democrats in Washington DC see an opportunity to use the Coronavirus as a tool to spend and expand dependency initiatives.

One of President Trump’s biggest and non-discussed success stories has been his economic policy initiatives allowing people to be financially secure, independent and non-reliant on government hand-outs. However, the financial health and success of Americans is adverse to the political interests of Democrats who structure all of their policy objectives upon creating a dependent citizenry.

Weaponizing Coronavirus now becomes a tool for House Democrats to push-back against economic freedom; diminish the last several years of independence; and return to the era where more people become dependent on government.

Congress is now considering legislative action to include payments for people to stay home & expanded food stamp distribution.”

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital. | March 9, 2020 at 8:49 pm

    Dr. Drew Pinsky Slams Media For Inciting Coronavirus ‘Panic’

    Celebrity physician Dr. Drew Pinsky said the media is stoking the flames of coronavirus “panic” in the United States, and the industry should “be held accountable.”

    “What I have a problem with is the panic and the fact that businesses are getting destroyed, that people’s lives are being upended, not by the virus, but by the panic.

    The panic must stop.

    And the press, they really somehow need to be held accountable because they are hurting people.”

    “A bad flu season is 80,000 dead, we’ve got about 18,000 dead from influenza this year, we have a hundred from corona,” Pinsky said. “Which should you be worried about, influenza or corona? A hundred versus 18,000? It’s not a trick question. And look, everything that’s going on with the New York cleaning the subways and everyone using Clorox wipes and get your flu shot, which should be the other message, that’s good. That’s a good thing, so I have no problem with the behaviors.”

I haven’t figured out why, but for some reason the Party of Progressivism never seems to understand that people are generally rational creatures that are capable of filtering out bullsh*t. Whenever I hear the hue and cry against Trump’s counter-punching responses, and I re-visit the original provocations that inspired them, the provocations are always more irrational, much more hyperbolic, hugely more unfair and ad-hominem, and as a result, immediately perceived as cynical and odious – reflective of the people who issue them. I can’t see how they don’t understand that they are always coming across as much worse than the man they accuse.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Aggie. | March 9, 2020 at 9:06 pm

    For one thing, they are used to decades and decades of having virtually all Media right under their Thumb.

    Today, it’s like the invention of the printing press.
    We the People have outlets for the truth and to organize against them.

    “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” ~ Ephesians 6:12

    rdm in reply to Aggie. | March 10, 2020 at 6:59 am

    If they were generally rational creatures there would not be so many elected democrats…

The Dems are trying to weaponize the WuFlu. What they don’t seem to be considering is that if it does not live up to their hopes they will have made it appear a triumph for the Trump administration.

    Subotai Bahadur in reply to Bill West. | March 9, 2020 at 10:46 pm

    And like all Leftists, they assume that they will be immune somehow if things go all Black Death. So they are happy to root for disaster.

    Subotai Bahadur

CV will be a net benefit by reducing the number of flu deaths.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Petrushka. | March 9, 2020 at 9:19 pm

    lol I see what you did there.

    Chuckin Houston in reply to Petrushka. | March 9, 2020 at 11:58 pm

    Valid point! People with compromised immune systems and serious respiratory problems are those most likely to get pneumonia from the flu. They’re also mostly likely to get pneumonia if infected by Covid-19. It stands to reason that Covid-19 deaths will substitute for some expected flu deaths.

    MajorWood in reply to Petrushka. | March 10, 2020 at 2:04 pm

    Sometimes unintended consequences have positive benefits. During Gulf I fewer soldiers died than during an equivalent time period when we were at peace simply because the soldiers were removed from alcohol while in the middle east for a year. If that one SCUD hadn’t hit the mess hall tent it would have possibly been the safest year ever for the military. So, we may very likely see an uncharacteristically low death rate this year from the flu because people in general are taking hygiene more seriously. My SWAG is that we might see 1000 CV19 deaths this season, but at the same time might see 10,000 fewer deaths due to garden variety influenza’s. And probably 99% of the CV19 deaths will be from the same demographic as the typical influenza victim. In effect, IMHO, the net result of this “hypothetical pandemic” will be no different than people actually listening to what their mother says for once and we will be stuck with more old people voting for more entitlements. 🙁 My guess is that no one here at LI will even know a single person who gets a positive CV19 diagnosis, let alone know someone who has died. As pandemics go, it is pretty wimpy, so there have to be other reasons why it is being hyped so much. People, and the media, are being more insane about this than HIV when it was bumping off 1200 people a week in the late 90’s.

    OTOH, if it builds the wall faster, then it was all worth it.

      Good point on the wall. I can’t wait for the first “undocumented immigrant” apprehended at the border with coronavirus.

      It’s kind of curious when I think about it. I’m 59. I’ve known many people personally who have died of cancer and heart problems. Some in automobile accidents. 1 of ALS. Several suicides. But I don’t recall anyone dying of the flu or pneumonia.
      Why is that? Most of these other causes kill similar numbers of people as the flu. Is it because it’s mainly people nearing the end of their lives in nursing homes who succumb to the flu, so it’s attributed to “old age”?

Taxpayer1234 | March 9, 2020 at 10:01 pm

My mom had swine flu in 1974. It was brutal.

First class. Nice.

Want to stop this crap? Just have Trump announce that elections have to be postponed for at leasst a couple of years because of the virus. Then watch how nothingburger the disease becomes.

Can we prepare to panic, just in case?

If you aren’t taking Coronavirus seriously…
That is fine.
If you are, and you wind up with 10 bales of toilet paper, 10 jars of vitamin C and 20 cans of Lysol…
A whole bunch’a canned food and bottled water…
You may feel foolish.
But you will live through it.

    Edward in reply to snowshooze. | March 10, 2020 at 12:35 pm

    That’s a strawman you’ve knocked down. WE can take COVID19 seriously while believing it isn’t a situation for panic. I wash my hands and avoid going to locations with many people, etc. But I also recognize that the same efforts needed to avoid the Flu work for COVID19 (except immunization, so far). I recognize that the MSM/Socialist-Democrats are attempting to make a weapon of COVID19 in an effort to prevent the re-election of the President. That doesn’t obviate efforts to avoid getting sick, it’s just an intellectual recognition to keep in mind while taking those precautions.

    Firewatch in reply to snowshooze. | March 10, 2020 at 6:48 pm

    For Y2K my neighbor became a prepper. He had more crap than you can imagine, but just before that scary day he decided what the heck and took him family to Six Flags.

Professor Jacobson:
What are you doing on a plane?
You know since they banned smoking on them, they just re-circulate the air…

I didn’t make that last donation to you to see you commit suicide.
Stay away from people!
Especially air-travel.

I had the Hong Kong Flu in 1969 and missed a week and a half of my senior year in college. What the left wing fearmongers have done to this country is reprehensible. But yesterday I had lunch in a very crowded noisy Panera Bread and no one seemed worried while eating together. Seems the only people in a panic live on Wall Street.

I had the Hong Kong Flu in 1969 and missed a week and a half of my senior year in college. What the left wing fearmongers have done to this country is reprehensible. But yesterday I had lunch in a very crowded noisy Panera Bread and no one seemed worried while eating together. Seems the only people in a panic live on Wall Street.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | March 10, 2020 at 8:36 am

Interesting research report on COVID-19.

I love people who continue to state that COVID-19 is a serious public health danger. This is opinion only and, so far, there is no clear evidence to support this claim. Is it a public health problem? Yes. Is influenza type A and B a public health problem? Yes. Is the resurgence of measles a public health problem? Yes. How about Whooping Cough and cholera? Again, yes. But, perspective is important. Just how significant a threat are these diseases to the general public. We know how dangerous many diseases are, based upon an extensive track record of morbidity rates from the diseases and their attendant complications. So, we accept the tens of thousands of flu deaths and thousands of Whooping Cough deaths which occur every year. COVID is different only in the fact that we have no track record for the disease. We really have NO clear idea of its morbidity rate, long term. So, there is a fear of the unknown. On top of that, the media has created a modern health crisis on the scale of thee medieval bubonic plague. Based upon limited statistics, of dubious worth, the media has cast COVID as an apocalyptic disease which will decimate the human race. Intelligent people refuse to believe anything that the media says, based upon the last three lies of bald faced lies, so why believe them on this subject?

Can you contract COVID-19 and die? There is that possibility. Can you contract influenza and die? Again, the possibility exists. Can you contract any of a dozen other diseases and die? Certainly. Can you die of food poisoning from your local restaurant? Yep. How about death through automobile accident? How about from a slip and fall in the home? Heart disease, criminal acts, drug overdose, bee stings, household accidents? All of these things kill many people every year. But, we do not worry about them simply because we have a pretty good idea as to the chances of one of these things actually killing us. COVID is an unknown quantity which is being hyped as the end of civilization. As Winston Churchill said, we have nothing to fear, but fear itself. Take reasonable hygienic precautions, but do not allow fear of the unknown rule your life.

By the way. It is interesting to see the same liberal/Progressives, who are releasing violent criminals back into society willie-nillie, incarcerating [quarantining] people who have simply been exposed to COVID-19.

    notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital in reply to Mac45. | March 10, 2020 at 1:54 pm


    “Intelligent people refuse to believe anything that the media says….”

What a difference a month makes. Excerpts from this “straight-news” article paint Trump as being hasty and repeat the lie that he issued a Muslim travel ban earlier.

I was talking to a lady at work yesterday, and she said Trump was obviously reacting to the virus instead of being proactive. When I mentioned Trump taking heat as being “racist” and “reckless” for the China travel ban issued a month ago before all the panic here started, she didn’t know what I was talking about. She’s not a news junkie and just regurgitates establishment media/DNC talking points she picks up from being a casual observer of the usual “news” outlets.

From February 8:

Trump US visa executive order banning foreign nationals who had been in China

On February 1, 2020 Trump signed an executive order banning all foreign nationals from entering the US who had been in China. The order came into effect at 5pm on February 2, 2020. Trump has been accused of ‘panicking’ by thousands of people affected by the travel ban …

World Health Organization advises against such drastic action

Since taking office, Trump has imposed a Muslim travel ban …

According to official government figures from the 2019 fiscal year, an average of 14,000 people travel to the US from China every day.

My son gave me chicken pox when I was 46. I fully understand why about 100 adults die each year from the chicken pox. My friends still refer to it as when I had the plague. Imagine a really really bad case of the flu combined with about 1000 festering pustules (internal too!). So, before your parents pass away, be sure to ask them whether you had chicken pox as a kid.

Cuomo called out the national guard to new rochelle, isn’t that a place where they had a big outbreak of measles a while back, coincidence?

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | March 10, 2020 at 5:27 pm

Remember Professor Jacobson, God put some in the lion’s den for a purpose.

I’m taking special care to avoid this frightening disease and have self isolated myself to my motorcycle until farther notice. Hopefully, New Mexico will keep their topsoil this spring.

The left has become completely evil. They want death and disaster all to beat Trump. None of these people actually think about losing their fathers and mothers to this disease. Do, they really want so badly to beat Trump that they would trade family members for that. But, they don’t think that way. they think beating Trump is worth it. What happens when they lose people close to them an Trump still wins?

    I’d bet on Biden at this point unless he has a material “senile” moment during a debate with Trump. I have always thought that Biden would have won in 2016, as he would not have lost states like PA, MI and WI. Despite all of Hillary’s claims, the real reasons she lost were her personality, the “deplorables” remark and failure to campaign enough in the MidWest. This time, I expected the stock market, economy and Biden’s further neurological deterioration would make Trump the winner. He does get results. The first two are now likely out the window.

The coronavirus is Trump’s Chernobyl—a growing catastrophe in which the government response is deadly because Trump is more worried about protecting the myths that define his alternative reality than protecting vulnerable people who will die. My column:

This is hysterical. Someone from The Washington Post speaking of an alternative reality? LOL!!!

    The massive screw-up on testing, which still continues and is not Trump’s fault, and his repeated downplaying of the risk is not an “alternative reality”. We have over 1,000 cases and 31 deaths now. By April, do not be surprised if we have 100,000 cases, as the cases double every 4-6 days, and over 1,000 deaths. The stock market will be a lot lower, schools closed and the economy at a standstill. The election will be Biden’s to lose, when he should not even be running, for neurological reasons.

      jb4 in reply to jb4. | March 11, 2020 at 10:45 am

      PS – Those comments are what I believe the situation will be, not where I think it should be if put into proper perspective of deaths from flu, etc. In fact, all the precautions now being taken against transmission of coronavirus might actually reduce total deaths from all communicable diseases.