Michael Fumento of the Hudson Institute has been a one-man truth squad on epidemiological issues since, more than 15 years ago, he debunked claims that AIDS would spread like wild-fire among American heterosexuals. In this column from the Washington Times, he tackles the “SARS hysteria.” Fumento notes that flu inflicts more serious illness and death in a day than SARS has caused in 20 weeks. And the global death rate among those who get the disease is about six percent, roughly the same as other forms of pneumonia. The death rate in the U.S. and Europe is zero.
Fumento views SARS as essentially a Chinese problem (including Hong Kong). The reason for the problem there is that “Hong Kong’s medical care system has gone to pieces since the communists took over, and China’s hygiene is as bad as its health care.” But even in Hong Kong, the disease seems to be contained now. What has not been contained, Fumento laments, is the media-created “mass psychosis” surrounding SARS.
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