Be Afraid...Flu Season Returns Early
"More Serious" Is NOT The Same As "More Terrifying"
Apparently, the corporate media has given up on the COVID-19 Pandemic Panic Narrative, and is now trying to craft some fear porn based on….wait for it…cold and flu season.
The narrative, according to Vox, is that this year’s seasonal flu is going to be scary bad.
Flu season is here — and early red flags suggest it’s on track to be very, very bad. The latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Flu View report show extraordinarily high numbers of positive flu tests reported to the agency from labs around the US. As of November 5, nearly 14,000 positive flu tests had been reported, as shown in the orange line on the below chart. That’s more than 12 times the number reported at the same time in 2019 (shown in the black line).
Of course, the usual flaw in the argument still exists: hyperventilating over “case” and positive test counts, rather than percent positive data, hospitalization data, ICU admissions data, and mortality data.
In other words, pay no attention to the metrics that are actually relevant, just focus on one number and freak out. That’s the message from Vox. Oh, and get your flu shot! (No, don’t bother, they don’t do much anyway).
This Flu Season IS On Track To Be More Serious
Let’s acknowledge the obvious straight away: the data shows that this year’s flu season is getting started earlier and ramping up faster than in recent years. The CDC data from FluView shows that unambiguously.
Outpatient visits for Influenza-Like Illness this flu season are running well ahead of this same period during prior flu seasons. More people are going to the doctor with flu-like symptoms this year than before.
That data alone makes a strong case that this year’s flu season is going to be more serious than prior seasons.
However, we should never conflate “more serious” with “more terrifying.” The CDC data does not support a “more terrifying” view of the flu season.
Hospitalizations Are Still Low
Nationwide, the hospitalization rate for influenza like illness is only 5 per 100,000.
Put another way, during the week ending November 4, 2022, 6,465 people in the entire US were admitted to hospital with influenza—out of a population of some 330 million.
Additionally, the cumulative test positivity rate for this flu season is 7.0%
Out of 457,029 tests run for influenza this flu season, only 7% have come back positive for influenza.
That means that 93% of influenza-like illness cases where a diagnostic test was run were not influenza. Those flu like symptoms you’re feeling (or your partner/child are feeling) are most likely not due to influenza.
What is unusual about this season’s data is things are ramping up earlier than expected. The hospitalizations are increasing sooner than in prior seasons, but the hospitalization rate is not drastically greater than prior seasons.
However, looking at previous seasons, the sooner hospitalizations rise the sooner hospitalizations will fall. Without additional data to support enhanced virulence, there is every reason to expect this season will follow the logistic curve function the same as the prior seasons. As hospitalizations are ramping up sooner, there is every reason to anticipate they will peak sooner.
State And Local Data Is More Meaningful
In addition to the lingering credibility issues the CDC has after its shameful handling of the COVID-19 “pandemic”, FluView has a structural limitation: these top level charts are nationwide data. Given the geographic size of the US, the nationwide data is problematic for assessing the severity of this year’s flu; state and local data are far more relevant for understanding the severity of seasonal flu in your area.
In Texas, for example, while outpatient visits for Influenza-Like Illnesses are up, they are still less than 8% of total outpatient visits.
Illinois falls in between, at 3.74% of outpatient visits for ILI symptoms.
New York’s dashboard focuses on cases, but even at that, it’s cases per 100,000 shows an earlier start to the season, not necessarily a greater peak number of cases.
That there is significant regional variance in the severity of this season’s “flu” is immediately apparent just from this small sampling of state data.
It’s Still All COVID’s Fault
Regular readers of this substack will recall that, just a couple weeks ago, I discussed the apparent greater severity of this year’s flu season.
Then the prevailing narrative was still to “blame COVID” for observed phenomena such as an increase in Respiratory Syncytial Virus cases. In reality, the increase is more readily attributed to the lunatic lockdowns, and the disruptions of “normal” exposures to infectious respiratory pathogens, resulting in greater immunological naivete, particularly among infants and children.
In other words, one of the consequences of having isolated and locked down society for weeks on end during the pandemic was that normal exposures to a variety of pathogens, including RSV, were disrupted, with the result that, this year, there are a larger number of immunologically naive children who are now being exposed to the “normal” panoply of pathogens, with a greater incidence of observed illness as direct consequence.
Part of the fallout of any “Zero COVID” public health protocol is increased incidence of influenza-like illness in subsequent seasons. If people are not exposed to routine pathogens their ability to ward off even the more virulent pathogens is diminished. We are seeing that proven before our very eyes.
Go To The Source: Consult Your State/Local Public Health Department Surveillance Data
The Pandemic Panic Narrative proved beyond any and all doubt that the corporate media cannot be trusted to report matters of public health accurately or with proper context. The Vox article is but the latest example of their mendacity in this regard.
Fortunately, as I have mentioned before, it is easy to bypass the corporate media and get the data directly from your state or local public health agency.
One thing the CDC does do that is useful in its weekly FluView report is to include at the bottom links to the state-level surveillance websites for all fifty states. You never need trust the corporate media’s representations of flu season data; you can access the data for your state directly, and form your own conclusions, and decide what measures to take to protect your own health.
In that regard, it is worth reminding everyone that Vitamin D supplementation shows efficacy at warding off not just COVID-19, but a broad array of infectious respiratory diseases.
This year’s flu season is starting out with greater severity than prior seasons. Yet “more serious” is not the same as “more terrifying.” Thus far, there is every reason to expect that normal precautions for avoiding influenza-like illness are still the best way to preserve your own health.
Vox wants you to be afraid. Be informed instead.
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