Thursday, April 30, 2009

Swine Flu take 2

As updated in my first entry the DoH have, after a year of campaigning, produced a TV advert about the prevention of spreading germs, wow I call that good timing.

The big news is that this is OFFICIALLY A PANDEMIC, so PANIC. Sorry about the caps, but that seems to be what the media are doing. No doubt the WHO are enjoying the attention in a strange sort of way, but I'm sure they're professional enough not to dicking with the scale just for the attention unlike that stupid colour code terrorist warning thing no-one bothers about any more.

Of course what everyone seems to be repeating is the upgrade from 4 to 5 without, you know, explaining the difference just PANIC will you, sorry.

For those who don't know here's the WHO themselves telling you about the stages of a pandemic.

Basically a stage 4 is human to human infection in a community, so confined to one area or country. Stage 5 means the same but spread to at least two countries that share the same WHO region designation

Just to prepare for the media shouting themselves hoarse when it reaches a stage 6 GLOBAL PANDEMIC, damn got to stop doing that, the definition for that is the same as for 5 but with h-h infection in another WHO region as well.

To condense - 4 means one country, 5 means at least two countries in the same region and 6 means at least three countries with one outside the region shared by the other two.

Scary, not really; serious, but not scary.

Just to get everything straight according to the latest WHO report there are 148 confirmed cases in 9 countries with 8 deaths.


Orphi said...

I must be getting old or something. I just find all this completely excessive scaremongering tiresom and childish.

148 confirmed cases and 8 deaths. Wanna take a guess how many people die every single day in the UK alone due to road traffic accidents?

Actually, what am I saying? This is FlipC! You can probably find out for me! :-D

FlipC said...

In 2007 for Great Britain an average of about 8 a day. Yeah lower than you probably thought. There were 247,780 casualties of which 2,946 died.

As extra info there were 8,724 alcohol-related deaths about 24 a day. Also 16,582 deaths attributed to "Mental and behavioural disorders" about 45 a day. don't see big stories about the latter do you?

Then again they're not infectious, trouble with such things is you can hit exponential growth you infect two people, who infect two people who...

But getting scared doesn't help and running in little circles doesn't either. This could become very bad, but then again it might not. For the latter case hype just means people are less likely to listen next time.

Orphi said...

Dude, how the hell do you find all this stuff out??

Ooo, ooo, I got one… Does the human birth rate vary seasonally?

FlipC said...

The same way I can find the pedestrian road incident mortality rate for Cambridge - knowing where to look :-)

Births. Exact data is only available from 2003 up to 2006 and is sorted by the more exact quarter rather than season. However the live birth data shows more births in the Jul-Sep quarters than the Jan-Mar ones.

The general trend is upwards but the data definitely forms a series of peaks and troughs at those points.

Anyway suggests more conceptions occur in the lead up to Winter followed by an Autumn-ish birth

Data for yourself to see and plot.

2003 March 147.4
June 155.1
Sept 162.8
Dec 156
2004 March 155.2
June 157.4
Sept 165.4
Dec 161.7
2005 March 154.3
June 159.8
Sept 170.2
Dec 161.7
2006 March 159.5
June 166.2
Sept 174.9
Dec 169
Numbers are in thousands oh and here's a direct link to the PDF for fun.

FlipC said...

Forgot to add - for bonus points, and to see if you're paying attention, why could my statement of "more conceptions occur in the lead up to Winter followed by an Autumn-ish birth" be inaccurate given only the data I present?