Back to The List, part 4

By: hcubed , 1:40 PM GMT on May 09, 2012

According to the new and improved List, they have added new pandemics - such as H1N1 and SARS - to those things that are directly affected by man's use of fossil fuels and the releasing of the deadly toxin CO2.

Scientists such as Bill McKibbin have publicly stated that the world is above the upper safe limit of 350ppm, and we're all doomed.

First, let's define pandemic: "...A pandemic is an epidemic of infectious disease that has spread through human populations across a large region; for instance multiple continents, or even worldwide. A widespread endemic disease that is stable in terms of how many people are getting sick from it is not a pandemic. Further, flu pandemics generally exclude recurrences of seasonal flu. Throughout history there have been a number of pandemics, such as smallpox and tuberculosis. More recent pandemics include the HIV pandemic and the H1N1 pandemic..."

And here we have a listing of the world's epidemics/pandemics:

If one is going to say that CAGW (and CO2 released starting somewhere about the start of the Industrial Revolution) increases the number of NEW pandemics, then I guess you’d have to ignore the OLD pandemics that occurred BEFORE the Industrial Revolution.

Old pandemics like bubonic plague (aka the Black Death), which killed an estimated 25 million people, or 30–60% of the European population from 1338-1351. Anyone know what the CO2 level was then? Well below the 350ppm point, I’d bet.

Several other outbreaks of the plague were mentioned - The Great Plague of Seville (1647), the Great Plague of London (1665–1666), the Great Plague of Vienna (1679), and the Great Plague of Marseille (1720).

Seems like most of those were BEFORE the industrial revolution, and therefore cannot be attributed to CO2.

However, in 1994, a plague outbreak in five Indian states caused an estimated 700 infections (including 52 deaths) and triggered a large migration of Indians within India as they tried to avoid the plague. THAT outbreak falls within the idea of NEW pandemics.

Enough of the OLD pandemics. Let's look at NEW pandemics.

Since H1N1 and SARS were mentioned, let’s examine those.

First, H1N1 (also known in 2009 as Swine Flu).

From wiki: "...The 2009 flu pandemic or swine flu was an influenza pandemic, and the second of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus (the first of them was the 1918 flu pandemic), albeit in a new version..."

Wait – there was an EARLIER H1N1 pandemic in 1919? When the CO2 level was at 303ppm? That can’t be right. They said NEW pandemics.

Moving ahead: "...First described in April 2009, the virus appeared to be a new strain of H1N1 which resulted when a previous triple reassortment of bird, swine and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus, leading to the term "swine flu" to be used for this pandemic..."

So this was "...a previous triple reassortment of bird, swine and human flu viruses further combined with a Eurasian pig flu virus..."

The CDC estimates that between about 8,870 and 18,300 2009 H1N1-related deaths occurred between April 2009 and 10 April 2010. The mid-level in this range is about 12,470 2009 H1N1-related deaths.

It is often stated that about 36,000 die from the seasonal flu in the U.S. each year, and this is frequently understood as an indication that the H1N1 strain was not as severe as seasonal influenza.

No indication, anywhere, that the 2009 outbreak of H1N1 was caused by, or worsened by, CO2 levels.

I wonder if they meant bird flu. The first known strain of HPAI A(H5N1) - called A/chicken/Scotland/59 - killed two flocks of chickens in Scotland in 1959, but that strain was very different from the current highly pathogenic strain of H5N1. The dominant strain of HPAI A(H5N1) in 2004 evolved from 1999 to 2002. Well, that's a new strain. But still not tied to CO2 levels by any credible scientist.

Or maybe dengue fever? "...There have been descriptions of epidemics in the 17th century, but the most plausible early reports of dengue epidemics are from 1779 and 1780, when an epidemic swept Asia, Africa and North America. From that time until 1940, epidemics were infrequent..."

Nope. Not a NEW pandemic there.

So what about SARS?

"...The SARS coronavirus, sometimes shortened to SARS-CoV, is the virus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS). On April 16, 2003, following the outbreak of SARS in Asia and secondary cases elsewhere in the world, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a press release stating that the coronavirus identified by a number of laboratories was the official cause of SARS..."

Seems that the first outbreak of SARS occurred in about 2003. Definitely classifies as a NEW pandemic, then. The SARS virus family (coronavirus), though, has been around for a few years.

For many years, scientists knew only about the existence of two human coronaviruses (HCoV-229E and HCoV-OC43). The discovery of SARS-CoV added another human coronavirus to the list.

Still waiting to see any references that link SARS to CO2 levels, though.

BTW, this NEW pandemic of SARS is said to have resulted in over 8000 infections, about 10% of which resulted in death.

Looks like the OLD pandemics which happened at much lower CO2 levels are still the winners.

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

Log In or Join

You be able to leave comments on this blog.

No reader comments have been posted for this blog entry yet.

Ad Blocker Enabled

hcubed's WunderBlog

About hcubed

Living in Biloxi MS, have been here since '85 (first Hurricane was Elena).

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
72 °F
Mostly Cloudy