Dr. Henry Miller of ACSH s Board of Trustees and Stanford University's Hoover Institution is a molecular biologist and former flu researcher who argues in the Washington Times that the swine flu pandemic was labeled as such too readily. He writes, [WHO s] official declaration of a pandemic...illustrates that WHO's fundamental paradigm is flawed: A warning system based solely on how widely a virus has spread and not considering the nature of the illness it causes is prone to false positives.
ACSH staffers agree. We took a more nuanced approach but essentially agree with his point. If the WHO has these flu standards, then why not apply them? Maybe this rationale will spur them to change the rules, says ACSH's Jeff Stier.
ACSH s Dr. Gilbert Ross adds: If the WHO actually applied their own rules, the annual seasonal flu epidemics which strike the northern hemisphere each winter (and the southern hemisphere during their winter) would also be labeled as pandemics. They aren t, due solely to tradition and the fact that WHO doesn t want to scare everyone each year.