Saturday, May 2, 2009

Interesting Map of H1N1

For those who prefer maps

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124126480414780235.html#articleTabs%3Dmap

Remember these are only laboratory confirmed cases. Because of the exponential transmission of the virus, the CDC this week has announced that it is moving towards a "test new clusters" as opposed to "test everyone with symptoms". So, if there is a school that is showing symptoms of H1N1, they will only test a few representative cases, for example, 5 students out of 80 showing symptoms. They will assume that if some or all of those five are positive, then the others have it.

This is a very important note in many respects. Many governments and health organizations, in order not to cause "panic" will say "But only 5 have tested positive". REMEMBER! THAT DOES NOT MEAN ONLY FIVE ARE SICK! That means only five have tested positive. This is a tactic that risk communicators use in order to put news in the best possible light in order to influence the behavior of people.

This is not conspiracy theory, this is fact. Risk communication firms are hired to do this sort of thing all the time, be it for health issues such as this, or the recent bank issues, etc.

It is necessary for people not to panic. It is also necessary for people to know the facts so they can make proper risk assessment for themselves and their families. Understand how information is presented, and you will be able to identify the "risk communication" vs the "facts".

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