The predicted dire emergency [with H1N1] did not occur. In the 2009–2010 “influenza season” about 18,000 people died from the disease worldwide, fewer than in previous years, and the vast majority of victims had serious underlying conditions such as cancer, lung disease, AIDS, or severe obesity, which can impair breathing.7 Since one influenza strain usually dominates all others during a typical flu season, H1N1 may actually have saved lives by displacing more aggressive viruses. The WHO maintains that its decisions were based on the best available evidence, but last year European governments, stuck with hundreds of millions of euros’ worth of unused medicines and vaccines, began asking questions.
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