No economic damage from swine flu
The swine flu was supposed to hurt productivity, but it has not worked out that way.
Swine flu vaccinations have been slow to get to those who want to be treated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that about 22 million Americans have contracted the disease and of those almost 4,000 have died.
The number of people who have had to go to hospitals because if the illness is fewer than 100,000.
It is remarkable that more than 7% of Americans have the flu or have had it, and the effects on the medical system and economy have been nonexistent.
The death rate from the disease appears to be lower than the seasonal flu. There have been very few reports that companies have had to close large facilities or that earnings may be undermined by the spread of the H1N1 virus.
The effects of the swine flu epidemic were almost certainly overstated by government health agencies, which means the threat that the disease will cause the American economic recovery a setback is bogus.
The mild impact of an outbreak of H1N1 is extremely good news for the government. The disease has not only had little effect on businesses and healthcare facilities; those effects have been modest even with a low supply of vaccine. People who are contracting the disease are rarely sick for long and it is even more rare that the disease keeps people out of work and in emergency room in any large number.
The H1N1 warnings have turned out to be exaggerated, which in a sense is too bad. If a dangerous flu begins to spread next year or the next, people will ignore warnings from government health officials. The CDC and other agencies have used up their credibility.
Top Stocks writer Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.
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