Joe Knows Pandemics.

One of the things the Democrats – including Joe Biden – have been trying to hit Trump over is the reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The President doesn’t have a plan,” they say. Or “the President telling people to stay calm is ridiculous.”

People forget that the Obama administration with “I Have A Plan” Biden, faced their own pandemic in 2009: the H1N1 pandemic.

While the H1N1 virus was easier to adapt existing vaccines and treatments to than COVID-19, the comparisons are not great for Biden when it comes to the response of the Obama administration to H1N1.

Imagine the reaction of the public to a new virus outbreak that targeted children, sending 10 times as many to hospitals, and killing 13 times as many as COVID-19.

Would you call the government’s handling of this pandemic a success?

That is what happened in 2009 when the H1N1 – aka, the swine flu – pandemic swept across the land. While the total number of deaths from the swine flu was much lower than COVID-19, its impact on children and younger adults was far more severe.

Consider these numbers:

According to the Centers for Disease Control’s latest numbers, out of the more than 200,000 people who died with COVID-19, only 92 were under age 18.

But 1,282 children died from the H1N1 pandemic of 2009-2010, when Barack Obama was in the White House and Joe Biden was vice president.

The number of children hospitalized from COVID has been around 8,000. The number hospitalized because of H1N1 – 86,813.

The swine flu was particularly worrisome because, unlike COVID and the seasonal flu – this one targeted the young more than the elderly.

In fact, fully 10% of the deaths from H1N1 were age 17 or younger, while just 13% were over age 65.

With COVID, almost 80% of the deaths have been among those over 65 – with those over 85 accounting for 32% of deaths.

Those under 18 account for a mere 0.06% of COVID deaths.

Unlike today with Trump, the press in 2009 ran interference for Obama and Biden saying the number of people infected was most likely exaggerated.

There are other reasons not to praise the Obama-Biden handling of H1N1 – which Biden himself has provided.

The former vice president, for example, recently declared it an abomination that “The United States just passed 5 million reported infections of COVID-19. It’s a number that boggles the mind and breaks the heart. … It shouldn’t have gotten this bad.” (The current case number is more than 7 million.)

But according to the CDC, more than 60 million people contracted H1N1.

Ron Klain, who was Biden’s chief of staff during that outbreak, told Politico that “It is purely a fortuity that (H1N1) isn’t one of the great mass casualty events in American history. It had nothing to do with us doing anything right. It just had to do with luck.”

Klain went on to say that “If anyone thinks that this can’t happen again, they don’t have to go back to 1918, they just have to go back to 2009, 2010 and imagine a virus with a different lethality, and you can just do the math on that.”

Let’s do the math. If H1N1 had a similar case fatality rate as COVID-19, the death toll would have been 1.8 million. The fact that only 12,000 died had nothing to do with Biden’s or Obama’s efforts, but the fact that, as Klain says, we got lucky.

Likewise, the fact that 200,000 have died with COVID isn’t because the Trump administration fell down on the job, it’s because the disease is so harmful to the elderly and health compromised.

Somehow we aren’t sure that someone who failed during a pandemic should be pointing fingers at someone else.

But that’s just us.

2 Responses to “Joe Knows Pandemics.”

  1. Steve says:

    One of the supposed benefits of Civilization is that lessons learned should be incorporated into “future thinking” …
    The tossing away of on-site (China) observers & a coordinated NSC office (the Directorate of Global Health Security and Biodefense was disbanded under Trump’s then-national security adviser John Bolton – some resigned, others moved to different units on the National Security Council), plus the insistence on a “don’t worry about it” policy, should probably be considered more of a response failure than whatever the previous Administration mustered in response to H1N1 …
    And, to those who want to spotlight “bloat” as a catch-all fingerprint, they may do well to cast a wider eye on the current Administration’s use of Executive Orders & acting department heads to “streamline” the Federal bureaucratic structure …
    Unqualified personnel & their decisions (esp. at the executive level) are not preferrable to an over-staffing of experts …

  2. Luke says:

    Seems like both parties are now arguing about whose policies were the worst. I’m of the opinion that more bureaucracy (from either party) just turns what should be a medical issue into a political football with both sides more interested in scoring points than allowing the medical folks to solve the problem. I applaud any efforts to streamline or downsize big government, the government isn’t going to fix this thing, the scientists and doctors are. Like the saying goes “the 10 scariest words you can hear are: I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.”