Thursday, April 30, 2009
Yes, we have no pandemic.
New York City, State and the US Federal Government aren't using the word. But I think it's worth pointing out that it's the right word to use.
North America is currently experiencing an influenza pandemic. "What?!" you say, "they told us it's not a pandemic yet!" Well, sort of. It's not a global pandemic, but it is a pandemic. And no, a pandemic is not necessarily always global, it can also be national or regional.
Based on the guidelines in the W.H.O. document "Pandemic Influenza and Preparedness Response," we have "human-to-human spread of the virus into at least two countries in one WHO region." What we don't yet have, but will certainly have soon is "community level outbreaks in at least one other country in a different W.H.O. region in addition to the criteria defined in Phase 5."
It seems our local, state and federal government don't want to use the word pandemic yet - perhaps simply to prevent panic. But we should be aware that there is currently a pandemic of H1N1 flu in the United States. Or as I am calling it "Factory Farm Flu."
If you pay attention, you'll hear the correct language from W.H.O. For example Margaret Chan, the W.H.O. director general was quoted by the New York Times today saying "W.H.O. will be tracking the pandemic."
Of course, there's a bright side. Riding your bicycle and avoiding the subway is a great way to avoid the Factory Farm Flu.