Compared to what? -

Compared to what?


H1N1 overplayed by media, public health: MDs

Public health officials and journalists have overstated the importance of the swine flu, a former Ontario chief medical officer of health says.

Dr. Richard Schabas, chief medical officer of health for Hastings and Prince Edward Counties in eastern Ontario, said the H1N1 influenza outbreak needs to be put into proper perspective.

About 200,000 people die in Canada every year from all causes combined, including about 4,000 from seasonal flu.

“By the time all the dust has settled on H1N1, somewhere between 200 and 300 people will have died in this country,” Schabas said Thursday during a panel on media coverage of H1N1 on CBC-TV’s The National.

The panel also looked at the front-page coverage given to the death of Evan Frustaglio, a 13-year-old hockey player from Toronto. Evan died on the eve of the H1N1 vaccine becoming available, and demand for the vaccine jumped overnight, catching health officials by surprise.

A healthy child in Canada is about 20 times more likely to be killed by a car than by the H1N1 virus, Schabas said, but that isn’t going to make the national news…

So, a wildly over-played “crisis” to begin with. What of the other main media story-line, the allegedly incompetent handling of the crisis by public health authorities, notably the feds?

A great many commenters on this site seem quite certain they know how fast authorities “should have” responded, when vaccinations “should have” begun, etc. They are, of course, talking through their hats: they have no idea how long it takes to develop a vaccine, what sorts of consultations governments are obliged to engage in before deploying them, what sort of testing they have to undergo, etc.

Neither do I. But it seems to me the only sensible way to measure these things is in relative terms. Is 200 deaths a lot, or a little? Set beside the 4,000 who die every year of ordinary flu, it looks less terrifying. LIkewise, a plausible benchmark for how long something “should have” taken is how long it took in other countries. That’s not giving anybody a “pass.” You can still fail even if you’re graded on a bell curve.

I’ve already commented on the situation in the States, where at latest count they’ve delivered 38 million doses, or roughtly half as many, per capita, as in Canada. Stories of vaccine shortages are all over the US media. A quick sampler:

US faces swine flu vaccine shortage
NPR: Swine Flu Vaccine Shortage: Why? « Flu News Network
Swine flu vaccine supplies are growing, but flu is still spreading | Los Angeles Times
The Associated Press: Poll: One-third can find, get swine flu vaccine
Cornyn rips White House over H1N1 vaccine
White House Defends Its Response to H1N1 Outbreak
Minimal H1N1 vaccines leaves nation up in arms
The vaccine screw-up —

etc etc. Meanwhile, in Britain:

Swine flu vaccine jabs hit by delays

THE Scottish Government’s swine flu jab programme was condemned as “descending into chaos” yesterday, with vulnerable patients facing weeks of delays before they are vaccinated.

On the other hand, this story makes it out that there are no lineups in Europe — because they’re only vaccinating the high-risk cases. By invitation, no less. To vaccinate substantially all of the population by Christmas, as we are proposing to do, is hugely ambitious. China hopes to vaccinate five percent of its population in the same time frame.

Another reason the Europeans have avoided line-ups: mass indifference, similar to the situation here before Evan Frustaglio’s death. In France, for example, just 17% plan to get vaccinated; Germany, 13%.

Were we late getting started? Britain — though it ordered 90 million doses back in May — only began making them available October 21, two days before Canada. It initially shipped 5 million doses — fewer than Canada, which has just over half the population. France has thus far vaccinated only health care workers; it will start issuing “invitations” to high-risk groups next week.

Around the world, the WHO reports, only some 20-odd countries have launched vaccination programs of any kind, let alone on the scale attempted in Canada. This story reports vaccination programs “started in some European countries in recent weeks” but were “too late to halt the disease.” Meanwhille, public health experts in this country anticipate the epidemic could peak within days.

Worldwide, a recent poll indicates that “more than one-third of international physicians are anticipating a shortage of the H1N1 vaccine this fall in their country.”

In sum, other countries have been as slow or slower to roll out their own vaccination programs; where there have been shorter lineups, it is generally because the programs have been much less ambitious. The notion that our program has been especially incompetent is just not supportable.

Filed under:

Compared to what?

  1. Have other governments been as ploddingly defensive, repetitive, and, in the same breath, non-communicative about what it's doing? Or do we just expect more?

    • What on earth are you talking about? It's been crystal clear what they've done and are doing.

      • I think he's referring to the Conservative responses in QP.

        He's accusing the Government of being repetitive and ploddingly defensive in response to the Opposition's repetitive and ploddingly offensive attacks.

        • So, are we just expecting more?

          • Yes, at least until the next shiny new outrage comes to the fore.

      • :-) I's clear neither you nor I have anything better to do on a Friday night.

    • "Have other governments been as …. "

      Of course they have. Do you think Cons are unique and other governments around the world are keen to acknowledge mistakes?

  2. Oh look, Coyne is quoting the same tool who was the Ontario medical officer of health during the SARS crisis. Conservatives, look where the Ontario Progressive Conservatives' response to the SARS crisis got you in Ontario, hint, hint.

    • Can we have the old Mulletaur back? The one who could rationally consider all sides to a story? Please?

      • LMAO. Hey, MYL, just pointing out an historical fact, nothing more.

      • MYL – my thoughts exactly.

    • The SARS crisis was handled admirably by public health officials. In fact, given such a unique situation had never happened before, they were quite stellar in some ways. That they managed to contain a completely new and virulent contagion to a handful of Toronto area hospitals sounds like one hell of a public health triumph to me. Of course you saw the SARS crisis coming, and would have done better.

  3. Tony Clement as a broken record?

  4. The line "200 deaths a lot, or a little? Set beside the 4,000 who die every year of ordinary flu" bugs me to no end.

    It is obvious to a non-scientific fella like me that there is no such thing as a season flu. There are many many strains and each with its own vaccine. Public health each year guesses which one is going to go, well, viral if you'll pardon the pun and that's why we get which flu vaccine that year.

    If you add up all the deaths from all of the flu viruses out there, put together they may kill more than will die from H1N1. We don't actually know because the season isn't done yet but it's not an unfounded guess.

    But what bugs me is that there isn't a single other flu virus out there that will come anywhere near killing as many. This is the deadliest flu virus to come along in Canada in a long time. It's like saying hand automatic machine guns aren't bad because the deaths from all other guns is far greater.

      • You are making the same mistake that I'm criticizing Coyne for.

        There is no "seasonal flu" virus. That's just generalization. There are many seasonal viruses. Not one of those many viruses is as deadly as H1N1.

        H1N1 is itself a season flu virus, one of the many that affect us each year, only the strain has mutated into something more deadly than any other seasonal flu virus.

        That's what has people more concerned and rightly so.

        Otherwise you're saying that Harper's massive immunization rollout has been a massive waste of money and time.

        • No, you're completely and totally wrong. The average seasonal flu virus is just as deadly as H1N1. If you take all the flu viruses, and you average the mortality rate, it is the same as H1N1.

          It's not a waste of time and money, there are flu shots every year. This one is no different, apart from the ridiculous hysteria, and the fact that 1 in a million healthy kids is particuarly vulnerable.

          In fact, because the seasonal flu virus is more deadly, they decided to make the seasonal vaccines first, which is one reason why the rollout of H1N1 took a little bit more time.

          • @s_c_f:

            Is it possible that you failed to understand the essence of the piece you cited via the link ?

            PS That days-ago reference to "hating neighbours" was a feeble attempt at irony and not at all aimed at you personally.

          • Do you have a point?

          • Oh my goodness you are such a callous math and reading comprehension moron.

            Do you think all of those seasonal flu deaths will go up or down or stay the same with H1N1 out there? Exactly.

            Not a single flu virus will kill more Canadians than H1N1. So take all of them other flu viruses, the ones that kill off unhealthy Canadians, now add to that the many more healthy and unhealthy Canadians who will die from H1N1 and then you will see by simple math that you will have far more deaths from "flu" this year.

            Any expert who, right now, says this is mild or an extreme crisis doesn't know what they are talking about, but are only guessing.

            What we do know is that H1N1 is going to kill more Canadians than any other flu virus, that it has already killed way more than it has in the past (which is why it's a pandemic), but that we haven't seen signs of it being a full blown or out of control epidemic except possibly on the reserves (but Harper sent them lots and lots of body bags so that's OK, I guess?).

          • When the vaccines and plans were instigated 6-8 months ago, it wasn't clear exactly how deadly H1N1 would be. It could have been much worse and we wouldn't be having this discussion because the math would have been even more obvious.

  5. […cont.]

    But it's far worse than that.

    In most "ordinary season flu" deaths, by far, the patient had an underlying health weakness and therefore was particularly susceptible to any illness including flu. H1N1 by big contrast is killing healthy kids. Those two factors – healthy and kids – make this a very very different virus.

    So can we drop this comparison between a single deadly flu virus and every other kind of flu virus put together. That only breeds complacency.

  6. The reality is, the average Canadian seems to pretty much agree with Coyne.

    The only hyperventilating I see on this issue is from hyperpartisans in the political circles and their friends in the media.

    If the Liberals drop even further in the polls, expect the CPC to be attacked for…the death of Canadians in general:

    "Do you know how many Canadians are dying in Canada every day!! When is this hearless conservative government going to put a stop to it???"

    • I had a similar thought while reading through the comments this morning. There seems to be a subset of political consumers who have a sincere expectation that Government can, through sheer determination, overcome Nature and conquer Death. But only if we get the right government, of course.

      You always run the risk of being thought insensitive when you joke about that kind of thinking but it seems to me that mockery is the only logical response.

    • "Will the Prime Minister demand the resignation of the Minister of Life ?"

      • "Why is this government not doing anything about this frightful weather we're having?"

  7. One flu: Over the cuckoo's nest

    • Now THAT's a headline, Dot. Bravo. Even though my whole family has put up with this flu all week, because the virus beat the vaccine to our family, I chuckled out loud at that.

      Although the (thankfully so far) exceedingly rare death rate is nothing to mock, the incredible turned-on-a-dime hysteria is more than deserving of mockery.

  8. Coyne, as per usual, make a strong case. With respect to vaccine decisions, testing, and distribution — i.e., the federal role that the media appears to be most occupied with — we're still in early days in the pandemic in our part of the globe. Absolute and even relative measures are interesting but simply cannot be considered definitive one week into a process that will take many more weeks or even months top fully play out.

    However, we can pas some judgment on the local public health operations and their provision of vaccine to individuals. With few exceptions, it appears those efforts have been monumental screw-ups.

    Here in Ottawa, public health used their 6+ months of planning and concluded they would immunize 12,500 individuals per day. They assumed they would do this in November in Ottawa with 4-6 sites operating each day from 2:30 to 8:30pm, six days a week. Now, one day short of two weeks into that process they have yet to exceed two-thirds of that goal. Moreover, they made no provision for the thousands waiting in line in the cold, rain and snow for hour upon hour. None of the selected sites has significant indoor waiting areas. No plan to handle the disabled. No plan for demand that exceeded their projections (although in reality, demand is far below their stated daily goal of 12,500). Inadequate staffing. Regular public communications consisted of blather and contradictory messages, often at odds with the stated priorities of the provincial health officer. In short, it been a debacle.

    We may not yet know how high the rot goes, but we already know the local level gets a a big fat fail.

  9. "Canada needs more than one vaccine manufacturer to deal with future flu pandemics and to avoid production delays that have affected the fight against the H1N1 virus, federal officials say…"

    • It's easy for a Conservative government to acknowledge Liberal mistakes. Wasn't there a vote on a similar situation just the other night?

    • Nope. Communities need smarter mass-immunization clinics for the doses we already have but can't administer.

  10. "…“So those who are suggesting we're over the worst of it, … until people are either immunized or become ill this could go on and will go on for several months yet,” Dr. Butler-Jones told reporters in a conference call. “…

    …The number of hospitalized cases increased to roughly 600 in the week of Oct. 25 from 175 the previous week, and more than 90 people had been admitted to intensive-care units compared with 39 people in the previous week…."

  11. "…In the Ontario community of Goderich, Monique Sykes's nine-year-old son became ill recently, rising from his sleep vomiting and with a fever of over 101 Fahrenheit. A severe asthma sufferer, he was at high risk of severe illness if he caught the flu.

    “With his asthma, the flu represented a huge danger for us,” Ms. Sykes said. “It was terrifying. We were extremely concerned.”…"

    I guess they should have just shrugged and said, "Oh well, if he dies, it's statistically acceptable to Conservatives."

    • It's a shame everybody in the world couldn't get the vaccination already and it's terrible that people are dying, but it's not the Canadian government's fault. It wouldn't be its fault if the Liberals were in power or the New Democrats or the Bloc. And it wouldn't have been possible to develop, manufacture, distribute and deliver the vaccine any sooner.

      • Yes, they could have ordered the vaccine supply months sooner; I assume they did not because they were waiting to see just how pandemic the whole pandemic was going to be, if you get what I mean…

        • But governments that ordered vaccine sooner didn't receive it any sooner – as Coyne points out – and Canada has ordered enough to inoculate everyone, which is much more ambitious than other countries – as Coyne points out.

    • Holly, my nephew in Ottawa is just like the kid in this article — he has asthma and many very severe food allergies (egg, all dairy, all legumes, all nuts, seafood — it's easier not to feed him than to feed him). What's different, however, is that he cannot get the treatment Monica Sykes' child received.

      He's sick, been off for two weeks now. Three nights ago, he couldn't breathe at all — terrifying — and was rushed to emergency to Ottawa Children's Hospital, where they placed him in isolation but refused to admit him (they probably have no beds but would not say that). They are not testing for H1N1 at all, and they would not admit him — and since he isn't admitted, they won't give him tamiflu.

      So even though he's a high risk who could not get the vaccine, even though he cannot breathe and has a sore neck — the two main reasons for admitting — they cannot admit him, and since they cannot, he cannot have tamiflu, which is the best thing for a kid who has asthma and allergies to get better. Talk about a Catch-22!

      • That sounds really bizarre and frustrating. Can he have a doctor prescribe tamiflu for him?

        I know in Alberta the rightwing government has inadequately funded frontline health care so there are long waits in emergency departments and just not enough hospital beds open for the population in general. So all it takes is a pandemic to overwhelm the system completely.

        • 'and since he isn't admitted, they won't give him tamiflu'

          That is simply not true. Or you don't have all the facts.

          Spent 5 hrs in emerg Thursday night with asthmatic hubby, cough and sudden onset of high fever, chest pain.
          Our little rural Alberta hospital, after taking what seemed to be a quart of blood, ran many tests to rule out bacterial infection etc,
          xray did not show pnemonia had developed, he was diagnosed with H1N1.
          Sent him home with Tamiflu in hand, 2 pills twice a day (take with food, it causes stomach upset).

          The nurses and Doc were fantastic, calm and caring.
          Hubby is doing well, the drugs really turned the illness around.

  12. Coyne has fallen into the same trap as many others in interpretting the public's response to H1N1. Because H1N1 is a flu virus, the obvious comparision is with the more common strains that make up the seasonal flu. The public was also making the same assessment up until the dealths of young, health people started happening.

    The 200 people who have been predicted to die from H1N1 are more like plane crash victims than fatalities from seasonal flu. Healthy one day, dead shortly after. H1N1 is more like a terrorist attack than a frontal assault. The way it kills, means that every parent with a child coming down with it (I know, mine had it) is going to worry and many thousands who have serious respiratory issues are going to be terrified. So rather than ask how many deaths from flu can we tolerate, a more appropriate question might be how many plane crashes are we ok with on an annual basis. The public has always treated low probablility, very bad consequence risks in an emotional rather than analytical fashion and H1N1 is no exception.

    On the political front, it is too bad Minister Aglukkaq was not strong enough to force her instincts on the governmental response. If the openness and transparency that was apparent during her initial response had continued, the political response to H1N1 would have actually been positive for all politicians (… perhaps even elevating them above used car salesman in the next opinion poll). Instead both sides are left bickering as Canadian die.

    • Since plane crashes usually kill several people at once, a more appropriate comparison might be car crash fatalities. As pointed out in Coyne's article, we accept a much higher chance of children dying in car crashes. People are frightened of H1N1 and the government is responding by providing information and vaccinating everyone, starting with people with respiratory illnesses. It's not clear how you think this response could be improved…

      • Another analogy would be a car crash happening, and then the opposition berating the government for road safety.

  13. As far as it is possible to tell, the H1N1 "crisis" has generally been well handled by the federal and various provincial governments, except for some glaring communication errors with the public and an apparent lack of cooperation between different levels of government. How much the managment of the "crisis" has been screwed up, we'll probably never know. Will opposition parties try to gain some advantage from purported screws-up by the various governments? Of course they will. That's what they do in today's poisoned political climate.

    But the most obvious villain in this sad pageant of hype and overheated "analysis" is clearly the media. They've overplayed the potential impact of H1N1 because they either wanted more viewers/readers or they're just plain stupid (and don't understand statistics and basic medical science).

    Take a look in the mirror Coyne. You're part of the problem.

    • that is rich, considering his article above.

    • Did you read what he wrote before accusing him of being part of the problem?

  14. What about choices – I don't want to get that flu. I should be able to get a shot, period.

    They've been (WHO) talking about it for so long now…..shots should be available for those who want it. Never mind how many die or don't die – we should be able to get it.

    Enough with counting deaths as a monitor.

    • This H1N1 strain was only identified in March or April of this year. That we have a vaccine at all in six months time is a miracle of science. That government could get us all vaccinated almost immediately would be second miracle, one that isn't going to happen.

    • So you want next year's flu shot now?

      The vaccine became available in October, not just in Canada, worldwide,
      but you think the Harper Government should have got the vaccine to you in July, August, September…in the developmental untested stage?

    • I want my flu shot NOW, and I want it to cover the next ten years of flus, as well as any other diseases that might come up, including those that haven't been discovered yet. Is that one, tiny little thing too much to ask of my government?

      • I'd like to live forever, at my current level of middle-aged reasonably good health. I will vote for whichever party promises me that in the next campaign.

        Oh, and a pony. Can I have a pony?

  15. At some point in the near future, when some folks have adverse reactions to the vaccine, will we be hearing outraged Canadians criticizing the government's inadequate testing of it?

    I am certainly no con, or lib or dip for that matter, but I think the Cdn response compares favourably to other countries'. Too bad for Cdns that one has to disregard the preponderance of Cdn media coverage to reach a balanced assessment.

    • No con? or lib? or dip? Good gracious! We have a seperatists in our midst who would tear this country apart! Or a Green in our midst who would force on us draconian policies to lower our standard of living! Or an independent in our midst who doesn't seem the obvoius wisdom in a democratic system dominated by party politics.

      • Petetong,

        I have to always be in a state of having chosen a political party or else I reject party politics?? take a deep breath please, and note my tag. Campaigns matter and once a party gives me something to vote for rest assured I will choose it. The price for my vote is a sound, well-articulated platform. I bemoan the current lack of buyers but do not wish to lower my price below the break even point.

  16. It doesn't matter what the health issue is, Canadians expect the government to ensure the delivery of health care that meets their individual needs at any given time. However, it is impossible (and I would also say undesirable) for a government to meet individual needs because it can only (and ought to only) meet system needs. The health care system is too complex to adapt quickly to changing situtations, so the ability to meet all system needs at a given time, is also impossible.

    Basically, Canadians need to get with it. The purpose of government is not to make our lives utopic, is it to stop society from descending into anarchy.

    • The purpose of government is ….to stop society from descending into anarchy.

      AHA! So the reason Question Period resembles an anarchist bun fight, is to serve as a horrible object lesson to society. Now I understand…

      • "The purpose of government is not to make our lives utopic, is it to stop society from descending into anarchy. "

        Clearly you're not a member of the NDP or Liberal Party of Canada. Or if you are, you have just uttered heresy.

  17. Regarding Schabas' statement that between 200 and 300 people will die from H1N1, is this following the inoculation of the country's population or even if the flu shot were not available?

    And perhaps the government is not as concerned about the number of deaths that could occur, but the strain that will be put on our healthcare facilities – the majority of which are already strained by the reduction in healthcare providers??

    At least, at this point in time, we still have a choice!

  18. I would also like a comparison of how our health services are performing now and how they regularly perform.

    I find that best way to predict future actions is to look at past behaviour – our health services are constantly vexing people with inadequate supplies and chaotic management so why are people surprised with what's happening with H1N1.

  19. The difference between H1N1 and most other types of flu is the age group of those most affected by it. If I'm not mistaken the majority of that 4,000 or so who die from ordinary flu are the elderly and immune compromised. That's what has confused and frightened so many people – children and adults under the age of 50 are most at risk from H1N1.

    If the Harper government had taken the lead months ago and ensured that there would be an adequate supply of H1N1 vaccine, that it had an effective plan for distribution, that shots would be prioritized by risk, and that the federal government would work with the provinces to ensure that there would be adequate manpower to provide the shots, rather than just shipping out millions of doses and then washing their hands of it because 'health care is a provincial responsibility', then this whole mess might have been avoided. It was the vacuum of information at the federal level that led to much of the media speculation and opposition criticism. Every new issue seems to confirm that the Harper party never has a plan until the issue reaches crisis proportions.

    • Did you even read Coynes links?

      -On Sept 16/09 tThe feds sent the Provinces a guideline for 'high risk first' recipients….the Provinces ignored the protocol guidelines and it was a free for all.

      -The feds sent Provinces vaccine 2 weeks earlier than the expected date.

      – The feds sent the Provinces so much vaccine that 2/3rd of their first shipment was still sitting in coolers a week later
      because the Provinces could not administer as fast as they received it.

      • Did you even read what I wrote?

        Sending guidelines hardly qualifies as an effective plan for distribution. Sending vaccine 2 weeks early only meant that it had to be kept in storage until the provinces were able to mobilize their manpower to administer it earlier than expected. What the provinces needed – what the federal government failed to provide – was a co-ordinated plan worked out in consultation with the provinces for timely distribution of the vaccine, not earlier than expected vaccine delivery, guidelines for high risk recipients, and the disclaimer that 'health care is a provincial responsibility'.

  20. Why is everyone (including Coyne, who I would have expected better from) focused almost solely on *deaths* from H1N1? Why is this the only metric of the importance of the crisis? Why aren't we talking about people who are ending up in hospitals, some in ICU, and the thousands who "only" get horribly sick for a week or two, or more? The deaths are terrible, but they are only the extreme instances of a much broader problem: the suffering by people who get the flu, the burden on the health care system, and the cost to the economy of having all those people off work for so long (in the case of two of my colleagues, more than two weeks each). None of this is trivial, and my guess is that a cost-benefit analysis that takes into account just the health-care burden and cost to the economy of sick days would show that a vaccination program is a no-brainer.

    As for alarmism among public health officials, I suppose the tone has been varied, but most of what I've seen has been entirely reasonable. What sticks with me is the Ontario public health guy (sorry, forget his name) who was on Cross Country Checkup two weeks ago on CBC. He calmly debunked every myth about the vaccine (mercury, squalene, etc), but his basic point was this: "You are exceedingly unlikely to die from this flu, and even less likely to die from the vaccine. But irrespective of that, why would you want to leave yourself open to catching a very nasty bug that will keep you in bed for a week or more?" This has been the tone in everything that I've seen in official correspondence from public health agencies, and I don't see how it's alarmist.

    • "Why aren't we talking about people who are ending up in hospitals, some in ICU, and the thousands who "only" get horribly sick for a week or two, or more?"

      Yes, you make a very good point. If the ICUs are overwhelmed with people on ventilators, we will have a serious problem delivering primary care to people in emergency wards. So called 'seasonal flu' does not do that. That's why the public health authorities are being so proactive about H1N1. But you'll never convince any Conservative of that.

      • Whatever you have done to Mulletaur, the joke is no longer funny. Let him go. Now.

        Dale's issues are EXACTLY why we need to vaccinate as many as possible, as quickly as possible. As hard-hearted as this might sound, a dead body is easier on society than a four-week lingerer in ICU.

        The federal supply of vaccine has since the beginning exceeded the provinces' ability to do enough with it. And no, it is NOT Harper's job to take over provincial management of the health care delivery systems across the country, just because of H1N1. No matter how much you hate him.

        • What if I really, really, really hate him. Can I blame him just a little bit? (I don't, but I may wish to unreasonably blame some future PM for things that aren't his fault. I'd like to know in advance if that's acceptable. It sure seems acceptable to some of the current haters.)

          In all fairness though, the conservatives would be having a field day with this if they were in Opposition right now. The media? Well, they need to sell copy, and a crisis does that for them.

          • And Canadians, to their credit, would shrug their shoulders and ignore the Tories bizarre nonsensical opposition rantings as they seem to be doing to the Liberals' bizarre nonsensical opposition rantings.

          • I think that if the politicians are dishonest, and it is apparent to the voters, then you lose votes. Which is why the Libs sunk back down to 25% support, and the Cons have not budged.

      • My experience, and that of my wife, was being sick for a shorter period of time (me two days, her one day) than a seasonal flu.

        • Glad to hear it. But if even a very small portion of kids, young and middle-aged adults end up in hospital, and a little under half of the hospitalized are in intensive care, we are well and truly sunk. So no let-up on getting vaccinated, please, Canadian population.

          • Well, yes, I'm not against vaccination, that's for sure, it's one heck of an intense flu.