The other day, I criticized a graphic describing swine flu deaths in terms of its relevance to me. The figure below provides the estimates of the marginal probability of dying from different causes including H1N1 (swine flu). Of course, I will still complain and say, I'd prefer to see a figure that is conditional on my being a U.S. resident. Still this figure provides exactly the type of perspective that is needed concerning the impact swine flu is currently having on the world. With that being said, I believe public health officials are mainly worried about the possibility of H1N1 mutating into something that is much more contagious, or more importantly more deadly. If this happens soon, the world will still not have enough immunity (either through having been infected already or a vaccine) and the deaths could be catastrophic. [This image is no longer available. That's what I get for linking to the image rather than downloading it and linking to my own version.]

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30 October 2009