| Global Research |
August 25, 2009
|By Michel Chossudovsky|
A report by President Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology "considers the H1N1 pandemic 'a serious health threat; to the U.S. — not as serious as the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic but worse than the swine flu outbreak of 1976.":
Responding to the guidelines set by the WHO, preparations for the inoculation of millions of people are ongoing, in the Americas, the European Union, in South East Asia and around the World. Priority has been given to health workers, pregnant women and children. In some countries, the H1N1 vaccination will be compulsory.
In the US, the state governments are responsible for these preparations, in coordination with federal agencies. In the State of Massachusetts, legislation has been introduced which envisages hefty fines and prison sentences for those who refuse to be vaccinated.VIDEO; Compulsory Vaccination in America?) (See
The US military is slated to assume an active role in the public health emergency
Schools and colleges across North America are preparing for mass vaccinations. (See CDC H1N1 Flu | Resources for Schools, Childcare Providers, and Colleges)
In Britain, the Home Office has envisaged the construction of mass graves in response to a rising death toll. The British Home Office report calls for "increasing mortuary capacity" An atmosphere of panic and insecurity prevails. (See Michel Chossudovsky Fear, Intimidation & Media Disinformation: U.K Government is Planning Mass Graves in Case of H1N1 Swine Flu Pandemic)
The spread of the disease is measured by country-level reports of confirmed and probable cases.
How reliable is this data. Does the data justify a Worldwide public health emergency, including a $40 billion dollar vaccination program which largely favors a handful of pharmaceutical companies? In the US alone, the costs of H1N1 preparedness are of the order of 7.5 billion dollars.( See Flu.gov: Vaccines, Vaccine Allocation and Vaccine Research)
Following the outbreak of the H1N1 swine flu in Mexico, the data collection was at the outset scanty and incomplete, as confirmed by official statements.( See Michel Chossudovsky, Is it the "Mexican Flu", the "Swine Flu" or the "Human Flu"? Michel Chossudovsky Political Lies and Media Disinformation regarding the Swine Flu Pandemic)
The Atlanta based Center for Disease Control (CDC) acknowledged that what was being collected in the US were figures of "confirmed and probable cases". There was, however, no breakdown between "confirmed" and "probable". In fact, only a small percentage of the reported cases were "confirmed" by a laboratory test.
On the basis of scanty country-level information, the WHO declared a level 4 pandemic on April 27. Two days later, a level 5 Pandemic was announced without corroborating evidence (April 29). A level 6 Pandemic was announced on June 11.
There was no attempt to improve the process of data collection in terms of lab. confirmation. In fact quite the opposite. Following the level 6 Pandemic announcement, both the WHO and the CDC decided that data collection of individual confirmed and probable cases was no longer necessary to ascertain the spread of swine flu. As of July 10, one month after the announcement of the level six pandemic, the WHO discontinued the collection of confirmed cases. It does not require member countries to send in figures pertaining to confirmed or probable cases.
Based on incomplete and scantly data, the WHO nonetheless predicts with authority that: "as many as 2 billion people could become infected over the next two years — nearly one-third of the world population." (World Health Organization as reported by the Western media, July 2009).
The WHO's July 10 guidelines have set the stage for a structure of scantiness and inadequacy with regard to data collection at the national level. National governments of member States of the WHO are not required to corroborate the spread of the A H1N1 swine flu, through laboratory tests.
The WHO table below provides the breakdown by geographical region. These figures, as acknowledged by the WHO are no longer based on corroborated cases, since the governments are not required since July 11 to "test and report individual cases". In an utterly twisted logic, the WHO posits that because the not required to test and report individual cases, which are the only means of ascertaining the spread of the virus, that "the number of cases reported actually understates the real number of cases" (See note at foot of Table). The question is: what is being reported by the countries? How do they ascertain that the cases are H1N1 as opposed to seasonal influenza.
The WHO confirms that the above data is based on qualitative indicators:
These qualitative indicators are, according to the WHO, as follows:
The entire construct involves a non-sequitur.
In the text box below are the qualitative indicators used. What is being tabulated is 1. the spread of influenza, 2. the spread of respiratory diseases and 3. the impacts on health care services activity.
The spread of the H1N1 swine flu is not being evaluated through any concrete indicator.
An examination of the maps (click links on table below) does not suggest any particular pattern or trend, which might ascertain the spread of H1N1.
For many of the reporting countries the information is not available or indicates no particular trend.
The question is: how can this information reasonably be used to ascertain the spread of a very specific form of influenza, namely A H11N1
"Confirmed and Probable Cases" in the US
On July 24, following the WHO July 10 decision to shift from quantitative to qualitative assessments and not to require governments to ascertain the data through lab testing, the Atlanta based CDC also announced that it had discontinued the process of data collection pertaining to "confirmed and probable cases":
Instead of collecting data --which would have provided empirical backing to its assessments on how the H1N1 virus was spreading-- the CDC announced that it had developed a model "to try to determine the true number of novel H1N1 flu cases in the United States".
What is the precise nature of the data transmitted by the states to the CDC? The CDC calls for the transmission of "aggregate national reports of hospitalizations and deaths".
If the information is conceptually incorrect or incomplete at the outset, predictions and/or simulations will be inevitably be biased.
Without systematic lab confirmation, it is impossible to specify the nature of the virus because the symptoms of H1N1 are broadly similar to those of common influenza. In other words, do the data collected and transmitted by the states to the CDC confirm cases of H1N1 swine flu or do they indicate the prevalence of seasonal influenza?
The CDC posits that the data sent to them by the states is "underestimated". It then hikes up these figures of "unconfirmed" cases, many of which are cases of seasonal influenza. The "corrected figures" are then inserted into the model:
The model is then used to predict the spread of swine flu and to justify a national health emergency. "Swine flu could strike up to 40 percent of Americans over the next two years and as many as several hundred thousand could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures aren't successful." (Official Statement of the US Administration, Associated Press, 24 July 2009).
Anybody who is familiar with model building and computer simulations, is acutely aware that if the data and assumptions which are fed into the model are incorrect at the outset, the results will inevitably be biased.
What we are dealing with is a process of statistical manipulation, which has far-reaching implications and which could potentially create an atmosphere of panic, particularly if it is coupled, as in the UK, with announcements that "mass graves are being set up to deal with a rising death toll.
The Atlanta based CDC's model's simulations and predictions as to the spread of H1N1 swine flu are then used to plan the implementation of a nationwide vaccination program.
Based on the model's "predictions", mass vaccination of half of the US population is required, with the possible provision for quarantines under civilian and/or military jurisdiction. In the case of the United Kingdom, confirmed by British press reports, the government has predicted a rising death toll requiring the provision of mass graves.
According to the WHO, Western countries have already ordered one billion doses of the vaccine.
The WHO has made similar predictions: "Vaccine makers could produce 4.9 billion pandemic flu shots per year in the best-case scenario", Margaret Chan, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO), quoted by Reuters, 21 July 2009)
The United Kingdom: "Suspected Cases" versus "Confirmed Cases"
Even prior to the WHO decision to suspend reporting and compilation of confirmed cases, the process of data collection in the UK revealed some highly unusual patterns.
In Scotland, the collection of data was based on "confirmed cases" (lab testing), whereas in England it was based on "suspected cases" (no lab testing). In both cases, we are dealing with hospitalization. For the same time period, according to the study, England had 3,906 incident hospitalizations for "suspect swine-flu", compared with Scotland’s 43 for "confirmed H1N1".
England has approximately ten times more population than Scotland. On a per capita basis, however, there are 9.1 times more people in England with "suspected H1N1" flu than in Scotland, based on "confirmed cases": 43 confirmed cases in Scotland, 3906 in England (suspected cases), a ratio of more than 1 to 9.
Has the H1N1 epidemic "evolved differently in Scotland and England, in extent and/or timing."? There is no evidence to this effect. Or is this discrepancy of 90 to 1, partially the result of bias in the data for England which is based on "suspected cases". Where have all the virologists gone? | Straight Statistics See also Call for more H1N1 data | Straight Statistics
It is on the basis of these "suspected cases" that unsubstantiated and irresponsible statements are being made by senior government health officials.
What this implies is that the hospital based data on "suspected cases" referred to above, which was already the source of bias is no longer being collected by health personnel.
In Britain, the collection of "suspected cases" (which is known to be biased) was abandoned in favor of a system which does not require a diagnosis by a health professional, nor the testing of a lab specimens.
Since the WHO ruling on July 10, establishing new guidelines for data collection, the British authorities no longer focus on hospital based "suspected cases", they are now collecting the data through "dedicated call centres".
In Britain, the transition has been from "confirmed cases" (lab confirmation) to "suspected cases" (established by health professional, not requiring testing) to "self categorization"
As the pandemic progresses, the process of data collection becomes increasingly loose and unprofessional. One would normally expect the opposite, that following the announcement of Worldwide level 6 pandemic, that the process of data collection would be developed and improved as means to formulating a public health action plan. .
"The [British] National Pandemic Flu Service is a self-care service that will assess your symptoms and, if required, provide an authorisation number which can be used to collect antiviral medication from a local collection point. For those who do not have internet access, the same service can be accessed by telephone"
Typical symptoms: sudden fever (38C or above) and sudden cough 1. Other symptoms include: Tiredness and chills 2. Headache, sore throat, runny nose and sneezing 3. Stomach upset, loss of appetite, diarrhoea 4. Aching muscles, limb or joint pain Source: NHS and BBC.
The moment you enter your name into the system over the internet or by phone, which allows you to collect anti-viral medication (e.g. tamiflu), you may be categorized as a suspected or probable case of H1N1. (see the UK National Pandemic Flu Service guidelines in Annex 1 below)
As discussed in the England versus Scotland analysis, there is already a 9 to 1 discrepancy between "suspected" and "confirmed" cases, both of which are hospital based.
The system of data collection in the UK through "self-categorization" has no scientific basis whatsoever. It is totally meaningless, given the fact that the H1N1 has the same symptoms as seasonal influenza. (We have, however, not been able to ascertain at the stage the extent to which the self-assessment information is being tabulated and used to establish trends pertaining to the H1N1 flu pandemic)
The pattern in other countries differs from that outlined in relation to Britain. In the US, a system of testing at the state level still prevails.
Reports from Britain by prominent physicians (to the author) suggest that doctors and epidemiologists in the UK are being threatened. They risk being fired by the National Health authorities if they speak out and reveal the falsehoods underlying the data as well as government statements.
What we are dealing with is a big lie. A process of generating fake data which is then used to justify a nationwide vaccination program.
The political and corporate interests behind this Worldwide public health emergency must be the target of citizens' actions.
This public health emergency is not intended to protect humanity.
The World is at the crossroads of a major economic and social crisis. The Worldwide public health emergency serves to divert public opinion from the real crisis which is affecting the World's people. This crisis is characterised by rising poverty and unemployment an the collapse in social services, not to mention a a US-NATO multitrillion dollar high tech "war without borders" which includes the preemptive "first strike" use of nuclear weapons.
The dramatic causes and consequences of the "real crisis" which in real sense threaten the future of humanity must remain unheralded. Both the Economic Crisis and the Middle East Central Asian war are the object of routine and persistent media distortion and camouflage. In contrast, the H1N1 swine flu --despite its relatively mild and benign impacts-- is depicted as major "Save the World" endeavor.
Author and economics professor Michel Chossudovsky is Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization, Montreal, He has taught at universities and academic institutions in North America, Western Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Pacific. He has also worked as a consultant on issues pertaining to public health and the economics of health for the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC). He has also acted as adviser to governments of developing countries.
The guidelines of UK National Pandemic Flu Service are indicated below:
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