The text came at 10:44 p.m. "Go get your flu vaccine," she says, and here we go. It's winter in America again, which means that Flu Hysteria is once again a thing. This happens every year, as the alarmists and the anti-vaxxers administer verbal lashings to each other, all sides armed with dodgy statistics, launching volleys of vitriol, armed with stockpiles of stories from questionable media sources. But this year is a little different, in that there just might be something to it. Or not. I really have no idea-nor, it seems, does anyone else.
This year's flu follies occur against a backdrop of exceptional weirdness, as documented in the global press. The daily paper in Hong Kong, "The Standard," reported on Jan. 11 that the "flu has been on the rise in recent weeks." You never want to see the flu rising, because that's where your nose and mouth are; it's always best to keep it down near the floor. They cite Chinese National Influenza Center (whose annual holiday party, it must be said, is no fun at all), which counted 11,253 cases of flu, a 46 percent increase from the previous week's total of 7,730. Chinese state media reports that "medical organs" (no jokes, please) are being put on alert in case current trends accelerate.
Those numbers don't look good, but the population density can skew our perception of them. So how are things looking in places that don't have a billion people? Well, not so good. Scotland, population 5.4 million, has seen a 75 percent increase in flu cases at the start of the year. The BBC, which is generally quite reliable (unless they're talking-or, not talking, as the case may be-about the massive child-molestation scandal involving their own personnel) cites Health Protection Scotland, which raised the country's flu status from "normal" to "moderate." A 75 percent increase of flu cases in one week, and that's "moderate"? That, right there, is why we all love the Scottish as much as we do.
There were 107 reported cases of … More