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How dangerous is this swine flue? Probably seversly, in my best guess.

   It is quite simple math that is at  work. The first cases were seen  
in early March. If you assume that each victim spreads it to just two  
more people in about a week, then cases would triple each week  
(including the original victim each week) . That would work out  
roughly to the 2,500 now suspected cases in Mexico. Tripling each week  
would mean about a million and a half cases in three months, rising to  
6 billion or so in another eight weeks, i.e. the world's population,  
roughly. This is less time that it will take to manufacture a vaccine.  
Even with a widely used vaccine, ordinary flu causes from a quarter to  
a half million deaths world wide each year. The fatalities from this  
flu would likely be higher just because of the lack of vaccine, even  
if it turns out to be no more deadly than normal flus. But the  
apparently excess deaths in Mexico indicate it might be even more  
dangerous than that.

I think that the extreme measures now underway in Mexico - closing  
schools and many businesses - is entirely justifitied. Any slowing of  
the spread of the disease would be most welcome, allowing more time to  
develop a vaccine and to  produce more drugs such as Tamiflu.  
Otherwise, if the death toll does mount, widespread and extreme  
hysteria might ensue. This is nothing to take too calmly. On the other  
hand , the worst thing people can do is mob doctor's offices and ERs.  
That would only lead to faster spread of the disease.

I suspect the left should be insisting on a week long shutting down of  
schools and businesses, and calling on people to stay home. The flu  
might well die out if that works. Acting as if its nothing would be a  
terrible mistake.

Best,
Michael