SARS: SEPARATING FACT FROM FICTON
By: Michael Justice
The global SARS pandemic has surpassed the US invasion of Iraq as the leading news of the day. The war is over, the evil empire has been crushed, and the reconstruction efforts are underway. The latest SARS threat instinctively pulls our attention toward our immediate survival - the angel of Death could strike anyone of us, anywhere. The media coverage of this issue is pervasive and overwhelming, and complete with the daily new count of SARS victims, probable cases", news of mass quarantines, travel advisory alerts, and endless commentary and interviews with the leading "experts" and public health officials to reiterate what little we know about this illness.
Yet, what do we really know about SARS? Is the media telling us the whole story? Should we stop flying, take our kids out of day care, stockpile supplies and hide in our houses? Do we really have a global pandemic on our hands? I decided to investigate these and other questions, and here is what I found out.
As of April 12, 2003, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported 2960 cases of SARS worldwide, with 119 deaths, giving a death rate of 4% from the illness[i].
Of these, Canada reported 101 cases and 10 deaths; a death rate of 9.9%. Note that 90% of reported cases and 100% of deaths occurred in Ontario. Contrast this with stats from our nearest neighboring country which reported 166 cases but with no deaths.
I found this a little more than interesting. How can a developed country with one of the best health care systems in the world have the highest SARS death rate in the world (excluding Malaysis which only had 4 cases and 1 death). In fact, Canada's SARS death rate among probable cases is more than double that of China and Hong Kong, the area where SARS is suspected of originating, and where our health officials have initiated travel advisory warnings.
Another fact that I found interesting was that despite all the media hype, the actual number of deaths from SARS seemed very low, compared to the death rates from other illnesses which we hear little or nothing about. So, I decided to check out how the SARS epidemic compares to those of influenza (the "flu") another very common and very contagious disease.
WORLDWIDE INFLUENZA [ii]
Influenza rapidly spreads around the world in seasonal epidemics and imposes a considerable economic burden in the form of hospital and other health care costs and lost productivity. In the United States of America, for example, recent estimates put the cost of influenza epidemics to the economy at US
71-167 billion per year.
In annual influenza epidemics 5-15% of the population are affected with upper respiratory tract infections. Hospitalization and deaths mainly occur in high-risk groups (elderly, chronically ill). Although difficult to assess, these annual epidemics are thought to result in between three and five million cases of severe illness and between 250 000 and 500 000 deaths every year around the world. Most deaths currently associated with influenza in industrialized countries occur among the elderly over 65 years of age. [Using these above ranges gives a death rate of 8.3% and 10% of those who contract this contagious disease]
INFLUENZA AND PNEUMONIA IN CANADA
"In Canada, it has been estimated that there are between 70,000 to 75,000 hospitalizations and 6,000 to 7,000 deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza in an average year[iii]. [In 1997, the last year that free information is available, 8032 people died from pneumonia and influenza.[iv]] These numbers could be multiplied several times in an epidemic year. Thus, the impact of influenza should not be underestimated both in terms of morbidity and mortality, and the economic costs associated with illness. [v]"
Note that SARS is not even close to making the list of leading killers in Canada. The fifteenth leading cause of death in Canada in 1997 was HIV, with 626 deaths, a full 616 above SARS. Curiously, lightning kills an average of 16 people per year in Canada[vi].
Further, those who have (supposedly) died of SARS in Canada have been in the high risk category (elderly), with the exemption of one 43 year old male whose medical history may also put him in the high risk category. The median age of death was 70.2 years old[vii]. This illness is not killing the young and healthy.
So, why is there so much media and government attention being given to SARS, in a country where more people die of lightning strikes, and avalanches, (not to mention falling off bar stools)? A compelling explanation has been made by Dr. Leonard Horowitz in his article SARS: Great Global Scam. He is the author of thirteen books including the national bestseller, Emerging Viruses: AIDS & Ebola-Nature, Accident or Intentional? And Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism and Toxic Warfare.
"Rather than a public health emergency, the "Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome," generally called SARS, is best diagnosed as a "Sickening and Repulsive Scam." This article argues that this unprecedented viral attack is, alternatively, an ingenious social experiment featuring institutionalized bioterrorism for widespread psycho-social control." Full article available at http://sarsscam.com/
What better way to sell newspapers, then war and disasters? What better way to boost budgets for hospitals and staff than have another "health emergency" that demonstrates the inadequacy of current funding levels?
What better way to boost sales for vaccine manufacturers then come up with broad definitions for new diseases such as SARS, scare people into believing that these diseases are rampant in their community and that their best hope is a harmless inoculation. Stay tuned for the SARS vaccine, and watch people line up around the block.
What better way to deflect attention of the country's populous away from sensitive foreign issues and domestic problems than by scaring them into submission by manufacturing a global crisis that hits them closest to home. After all, the US has no viable threat to its supremacy and plans for global domination, except the informed and empowered will of its own citizens. George Bush has added SARS to the list of quarantinable diseases with Executive Order 13295[viii]; unusual to say the least because there have been no reported US deaths from SARS. The government of Ontario has declared a 'Health Emergency" allowing them to quarantine (by force if necessary) anyone suspected of carrying SARS or contacting
a carrier of SARS. Over 1000 people are under voluntary quarantine in Ontario and at least a few under forcible quarantine. Quarantines have also happened in Hong Kong and Singapore.
Could this be the first of a number of new illnesses which are paving the way for public acceptance of mass quarantine measures? What better way for repressive fascists (masquerading as politicians) to control the global populous than invoking transportation restrictions and mass quarantines for the latest designer disease should their economic agenda and power be threatened.
To summarize, SARS should be a minor consideration for those born before 1933, or with severely compromised immune systems who are intending to visit a hospital in Ontario or travel to China. For the rest of us, SARS provides the opportunity to understand the propaganda tactics used by the ruling economic elite (and the politicians they control) to manipulate the masses and keep their profits rolling in.