Actually Not Good News

Talking Points memo, Numbers Coming Into Focus

We have some more tentatively encouraging news emerging about the Swine Flu virus.
Yesterday, we noted that the Mexican government had substantially revised downward the number of deaths attributed to the Swine Flu, from 159 to 84, after tests had ruled out many of the suspected cases.
Now comes word from the Times that Mexican officials have now reported that of the 908 suspected cases that have now been tested, only 397 turned out to have suffered from the Swine Flu.

Actually that is not encouraging, unless your biggest concern is overpopulation. 84 deaths from 397 cases is a 21% mortality rate. Since few people have antibodies many, many more could become infected than during the usual flu season — if it is highly contagious. That is the encouraging part of this story — it might not be as contagious as it appeared earlier. We had better hope this mortality rate is exaggerated.