Some less-bad flu news

Dan Hammes — St. Maries Gazette Record
Thursday, March 26, 2020

It seems ages ago, but for several days news about this particular ship dominated the news, and all of it was bad. 

But now a month later, news from that ship may be good.

Well, not necessarily good — but less bad than the bad news we’re drowning in of late.

We all remember the “Diamond Princess.” That’s the cruise ship that was on a month-long cruise that included visits to several ports throughout Asia. The timing could have been better.

By the time the ship was ready to return to its home-port, the Chinese Flu was worldwide news. 

As a precautionary measure, a two-week quarantine was imposed on the passengers and crew. While the ordeal was unpleasant for those folks, it does provide the rest of us some interesting data about the flu.

And that’s where we find the less-bad news.

So after sailing about Asia for a full month in relatively close-quarters — sharing dining areas, social activities, recreational facilities, exercise rooms, some restrooms, deck areas, tour buses, etc., etc. — the 3,711 people on board the “Diamond Princess” were certainly exposed to Chinese Flu.

Yet despite repeated and extended exposures to the virus, a full 83 percent of the people on the ship did not get the disease.

Call it glass-half-full thinking if you want — but it gets even better.

Of the remaining passengers who did contract the virus, half of them did not know they had the Chinese Flu. That is, they did not get sick.

Alright, we get it. All this may be fine for the 3,450 or so lucky people on board, but still leaves some 300 people who did not fare as well. Some became sick. Others became very, very sick. Seven died.

And yes, as you might suspect, those who succumbed to the disease were older. As someone with first-hand “older” experience, that’s not exactly great news.

But the numbers from the “Diamond Princess” show the news is probably a lot less bad than most people presume. After days of the 24/7 barrage from news outlets about this most recent fiasco from Red China, the story becomes akin to the apocalypse.

That is not intended to be a slam on the media. That comes later.

The Chinese Flu is a big, big story. It only makes sense that the media would cover it extensively. So there’s no attempt here to claim the media have blown the story out of proportion. But peoples’ reaction to the story is way, way out of proportion.

Disagree? Check out the toilet paper aisle.

So, yes, it is true that the Chinese Flu is more deadly than non-Chinese flu. But as more data becomes available, we now know it is not nearly as deadly as some people believe. 

Or others would have you believe. Not even close.

And speaking of some people — what is it with reporters? Why are they so fixated on screaming “racism” when people call the Chinese Flu the Chinese Flu?

For some people — and you can count us in — this is like teasing a sister. That is, if you know something bugs her — then you keep doing what bugs her.

Chinese Flu. Chinese Flu. Chinese Flu. Chinese Flu.

Odd that none of this “racism” bothers media-types when they report about the Spanish Flu, the German Flu, the West Nile Virus, the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or Japanese Encephalitis.

It’s almost as if media-types are selective in their outrage.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Dan Hammes is publisher of the St. Maries Gazette Record in north Idaho.