In an article published in 2011 in the Bulletin ofthe World Health Organization, Luc Bonneux and Wim
Van Damme wrote:
The repeated pandemic health scares caused by an avian H5N1 and a new A(H1N1) human influenza virus are part of the culture of fear. Worst-case thinking replaced balanced risk assessment. Worst-case thinking is motivated by the belief that the danger we face is so overwhelmingly catastrophic that we must act immediately. ... The pandemic policy was never informed by evidence, but by fear of worst-case scenarios.
In both pandemics of fear, the exaggerated claims of a severe public health threat stemmed primarily from disease advocacy by influenza experts. ... There is no reason for expecting any upcoming pandemic to be worse than the mild ones of 1957 or 1968,7 no reason for striking pre-emptively, no reason for believing that a proportional and balanced response would risk lives.
Resources are scarce and need to be allocated to many competing priorities. Scientific advice on resource allocation is best handled by generalists with a comprehensive view on health. Disease experts wish to capture public attention and sway resource allocation decisions in favour of the disease of their interest.
These learnings from past hysterias and the lack of evidence-based claims by “experts” did go into well- structured and well-designed pandemic plans and the WHO’s October 2019 guidelines for flu-like pandemics. But in 2020, it appears that the same vested interests and infectious disease “experts” came out of the woodworks, creating the biggest hysteria seen to date in human history and causing health harms on a scale in comparison to which harms caused by any other hysteria in the past appear insignificant.
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