O Me of Little Faith

O Me of Little Faith

10 Stats More Important than Swine Flu

posted by Jason Boyett

So as of yesterday, there were 1516 confirmed swine flu cases world-wide, 642 cases in the United States, and two deaths. (Both deaths were in Texas, and both victims also had “underlying health problems” in addition to the swine flu.)

Supposedly the pandemic is declining, but for the last two weeks we’ve been subject to more coverage than anyone needed about the disease, and where it came from, and how to prevent it, and What It All Means. And any death is meaningful — the last thing I want to do is minimize the two American deaths and the other international ones — but let’s put swine flu in perspective.

We’ve got 1500 cases of it around the world. 642 in the U.S. Yet schools are closing, proms are being canceled, people are buying masks, and you’re wondering whether you should bury your gold in your backyard and get your shotgun ready. The 24-hour media cycle makes everyone panicky and apocalyptic. But in about ten minutes of Googling (and Swagbucking) I was able to find 10 statistics that I think we ought to focus on more than swine flu.

Why don’t we get panicky about these stats instead?

1. There are over 15 million children orphaned by AIDS around the world.

2. Two million people die each year from AIDS, which is preventable. That’s one every 15 seconds.

3. There are easily hundreds of thousands of child soldiers forced into service each year by government military groups, armed militias, or drug cartels.

4. Every day, 4,400 children die because they don’t have access to clean drinking water.

5. Every year, 1.5 to 3 million people die from malaria, a preventable disease. 90 percent of them live in Africa.

6. Over the past five years, over 400,000 civilians have been killed in Darfur. Of these killings, 97% have been against innocent civilians and executed by militia groups instructed by the government.

7. Five million children worldwide die each year because of hunger and malnutrition.

8. Around 2.2 million children die each year because they are not immunized.

9. According to UNICEF, up to 30,000 children die each day from poverty-related factors. That’s 18 children dying every minute. One child every three seconds.

10. It is estimated that there are approximately 27 million slaves around the world today. About half of them are under the age of 18.


Again, let’s not diminish the victims of swine flu. But what if we gave the above statistics the same attention — at the national media level as well as the local level — as we are giving swine flu? What would result?

Comments read comments(16)
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posted May 7, 2009 at 12:07 pm

yeah but those 2 people who died, were AMERICANS. God’s chosen people… Geez Jason you should stop concerning yourself with people from oversees, especially Africa…

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posted May 7, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Even without AIDS, the STD stats are scary.Look those up.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 12:49 pm

From what I heard, the toddler who died in Texas, was from Mexico, not the U.S.But still if you don’t want to put your country first, you are always welcome to move elsewhere.And most, if not all other countries, put their own interests first, way before that of Americans.

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Jason Boyett

posted May 7, 2009 at 12:59 pm

Ooooh, Anonymous #2. You just burned me. Let me get this straight. Are you saying:1. As an American, I should be more concerned about the 642 cases of swine flu in this country than about the millions of children who are hungry, thirsty, sick, orphaned, and impoverished worldwide?2. If I don’t rank swine flu-sick Americans above those millions of children, then I should leave the country?To quote Seth Myers: “Really?!?”If all of us took your advice and moved away, you’d get pretty lonely.(Thanks for stopping by, though, Anonymous. You seem to really make the rounds when it comes to blog commenting!)

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:00 pm

great post Jason! i totally agree that we need to put a lot more emphasis on some of these more important issues. the way this has been blown WAY out of proportion is ridiculous – almost as ridiculous as the anonymous commenter saying “if you don’t want to put your country first, you’re always welcome to move elsewhere.” how ’bout this to bridge the gap between the “america first” opinion and the argument that this is overblown – every year there are 36,000 people in the US who die of flu related causes. (http://www.cdc.gov/flu/keyfacts.htm) http://dropone.blogspot.com/

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:08 pm

Anonymous #2:Nationalistic pride is not promoted in the Bible. I can care for anyone I want to . . . . my real citizenship is in heaven.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:24 pm

Jingoistic nationalism (and, off-topic, fear/mistrust/hatred of The Gays) is something the right is going to have to get WAY the heck over if they are to have any relevance going forward. The America-only train has broken down, and it shan’t leave the station. Meanwhile the rest of us are singing down the tracks toward what’s right and what’s real.(I’m sorry, did you not get the memo that today is Extended Train Metaphor Day?)Anyway, Anonymous #2. (Fitting number, by the way.) Your way of thinking should have died with the last generation.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:30 pm

Great post, Jason- The comments of A2 just go to show that perspective is not always appreciated, especially if you inadvertantly expose someone's hypocrisy. I just hope the next time I'm confronted with something with which I initially disagree, I take time to reflect and pray before typing furiously.Thanks- to both Jason & A2- a valuable lesson here!

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:31 pm

Jason, thanks for this post. This has been weighing on my heart for a while now and I think Americans need to get outside of our bubble and look at what’s really going on in the world. I’ve been reading for a while and think your blog is great, but wanted to speak up and comment about this especially.

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Jason Boyett

posted May 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Thanks, everyone, for defending me against the dastardly A2. I’m glad I don’t, in fact, have to leave the country.@Richard: I thought about that before I replied to A2. Had he/she used a name instead of posting anonymously, I too would have given the benefit of the doubt and left it alone. Maybe there’s a place for me in Canada!

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:35 pm

Is it my Canadian tendency to always believe the best in people or am I right in detecting irony/tongue-in-cheek in Anon #2’s comment?

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posted May 7, 2009 at 1:37 pm

Sorry, Jason, now I’ve messed up the order of comments.

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Jason Boyett

posted May 7, 2009 at 1:41 pm

No problem, Richard. To explain to everyone, I am not clairvoyant. Richard left a comment, and while I was responding to it he deleted the first one and re-posted a tweaked version of the same comment.Thus we’re out-of-order. Prophecy has not just been fulfilled.

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posted May 7, 2009 at 3:26 pm

I also think about the 16,000 people who die from drunk drivers. This is in the US. This is a pandemic.

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Travis Thompson

posted May 7, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Dang… I went ahead and bought a huge ranch in Canada where we can live as part of the Jason-Boyett-prophecy-fulfilling-cult people before I read your explanation. Think I’ll get a refund?

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posted May 7, 2009 at 7:47 pm

Wow Jason, you’re right. I’m a douchebag! (And I speak for all the times I have popped up on other blogs posting the same douchebag-like comments) ~Anonymous #2

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