Swine Flu Hype

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Ben Cohen
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By Ben Cohen

Ben Goldacre doesn't know whether the latest virus outbreak is worth getting excited about:

All people have done is raise the possibility of things really


kicking off, and they are right to do so, but we don't have brilliantly


accurate information. Someone has said that up to 40% of the world


could be infected. Is that scaremongering? Well it's high, and I'm sure


it's a bit of a guess, but maybe up to 40% could be. Annoying, isn't


it, not to know.

Someone has said 120 million could die. Well I
suppose they could: I'm sure it was done on the back of an envelope, by
guessing how many would be infected, and what proportion would die, but
I don't think anyone's pretending otherwise.