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Swine flu, the panic that never gets old

Believe it or not, kids, when mommy and daddy were little, there were no 24-hour news nets standing by to break into their Los Angeles car-chase coverage with panicky bulletins about how we're all going to die of swine flu. No sir, back in the primitive three-channel TV universe, it was so hard to create mass hysteria over random coughs and ephemeral aches and pains that the federal government had to use tax dollars (no sweat, though; there's always more where those came from) to create advertisements to shriek at Americans that they were all going to die writhing like pigs in Hell.

That video up above includes a few of the ironically named "public service announcements" that broadcast networks were directed to air during the Great Swine Flu Panic of 1976, when the federal government warned that half a million Americans were going to come down with the disease. That estimate was off by about half a million, though, to be fair, swine flu did trigger a minor health-care crisis -- some 500 people contracted Guillain-Barre syndrome from shots administered during the government's vaccination program.


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So they should do nothing? Just big government run amok? There was another swine flu outbreak. In 1918...Of course no antibiotics, antivirals etc....so the 40 million or so who died would likely be pared down today (unless you live in Nigeria, Haiti or someplace else with less than sterling health-care).

The great thing is that if a pandemic (a real one) is averted people can be smug and say "Look it never happened, next time do nothing.." Hell maybe you can get on the Sean Hannity show and discuss what a waste of time the CDC is and how it should be abolished.

Guy Pines

Even though Congress went along with him unquestionably, you can thank President Ford, a Republican, for that. It was his baby all the way. Thank God the Republican party is now deservedly marginalized and our country is led by a highly capable individual with a keen and discerning intellect.

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