Friday, May 1, 2009

Cutting Through Bad Journalism and Irrational Fear with Simple Numbers

Number of US residents who die each year from flu-related symptoms or complications from flu:
36,000 people

Statistical daily mortality rate for the common flu:
98.6 people each day every day

Statistical hourly mortality rate for the common flu:
4.1 people each hour every hour... day after day with no news panic

Number of US residents who have died since the Swine Flu "pandemic":
0 people

Percentage of US residents who have caught the Swine Flu and are still alive:

Total US population:

Total reported cases of Swine Flu in the US:

Percentage of US residents who have caught this normally nonfatal illness:


Drew Lomax said...

Well said!

Where did you get these statistics at? This is great stuff.

Heh, the media lacks any restraint when it comes to a scenario like this. Playing on peoples fears is certainly good for ratings, and in the end that's what really counts (at least to them). Never mind the poor souls who are duct-taping their doors and windows shut, fearing the end of the world!

Totally irresponsible! However, I guess that's just par for the course.


Mike Baker said...

The 36,000 flu deaths a year is a figure put out by the Center for Disease Control. The daily and hourly rates are just 36,000 death divided by days in a year and hours in a day.

The fact that no US residents have died from the flu makes the next two figures easy to calculate.

The Swine Flu in the US at 114 is a figure reported by the New York Times this morning (May 1st).

The US Population figure is an estimate that pops up when you type "US Population" in Google.

114 of 303.8 million is 0.0000375%

Television has conditioned us to be compliant and believe what we are told, react how we are told to react, and not to trust anyone who disagrees with the norm for our particular world view on even a single issue. The founding fathers would be disappointed.

These figures are available to anyone with an internet connection and a junior high school education in math. The fact that we let people who--frankly--are not as smart as we are tell us what to worry about when the facts speak for themselves is very disconcerting.

...and, Drew, never forget that fear is not just good for ratings. When you scare or anger someone, you can get them to do pretty much whatever you want. It is a form of population control.

There is not an activist group, political party, or movement that is innocent of this tactic. Fear and demonization have blurred the truth so much that it seems impossible to have an informed electorate.