Bird Flu: Is It A Real Threat Or Profit-Motivated Fearmongering?

The Defender

(The Defender) Growing concerns about the potential for a devastating bird flu pandemic are driving increased media coverage, including claims that bird flu could be “100 times worse than Covid.”

But a closer examination suggests the level of alarm may be premature, and some argue that fearmongering is motivated by profit.


In recent weeks, cases of the H5N1 avian influenza virus — also known as “highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) A” — have been detected in wild birds, poultry, a variety of mammals including cats and dolphins, and a small number of humans.

The reporting has sparked fears that the virus could mutate to enable efficient transmission between people, according to news outlets like The New York Times and Daily Mail.

Top U.S. health officials like Dr. Mandy Cohen, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), say they are taking the situation “very seriously” and monitoring for signs of the virus mutating as it spreads to new animal reservoirs like cattle.

However, other experts urge a more measured perspective, pointing out that critical pieces of evidence — like proof of mammal-to-mammal or human-to-human transmission — have not yet materialized.

“It’s not even a ‘new strain’ fiasco like the Covid hysteria days,” journalist Jordan Schachtel wrote on his Substack “The Dossier.” “In fact, the very strain being discussed has been around for decades.”

Dr. Céline Gounder, KFF Health News’ senior fellow and editor-at-large for public health, last week downplayed concerns about infectivity to humans on “CBS Mornings.” She pointed out that the person who reportedly contracted bird flu only had “a very mild case” of conjunctivitis.

“And that’s important to emphasize because it’s not in the lungs,” Gounder said. “It’s not pneumonia, which would make it easier to transmit from person to person.” She pointed out that contagiousness seems to be limited to those directly working with infected animals.

As media outlets ramp up ominous headlines and speculative reporting, some analysts are raising questions about the motives and incentives fueling the bird flu hype — from vaccine industry profits to controversial government-funded virus research to efforts to disrupt the food supply.

We are getting dangerously close’ to a pandemic

In 2009, Dr. Joseph Mercola wrote “The Great Bird Flu Hoax: The Truth They Don’t Want You to Know About the ‘Next Big Pandemic,’” detailing then-President George Bush’s spending of over $7 billion based on a prediction of 2 million American deaths from bird flu, only to have no one in the U.S. die.

In his article today on the topic, Mercola recounted the 2014-2017 bird flu hype that again claimed no human victims.

Former CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield in 2022 predicted an imminent bird flu pandemic with 10-15% mortality that would be “much worse than COVID.”

The latest wave of bird flu concerns began escalating in early 2024, as the H5N1 avian influenza virus spread rapidly through wild bird populations and poultry farms across multiple continents, the Daily Mail reported.

On March 26th, the Texas Animal Health Commission announced the first case of H5N1 in cattle at a dairy farm. Kansas, Michigan, Idaho, Ohio and New Mexico followed with reports of additional cases in cattle.

The infected cattle were described as “lethargic,” eating less and producing less milk, but not dying.

By April, the virus had been detected in other mammals, including foxes, dolphins and notably, humans. Three infected cats in Texas reportedly died.

On April 1, the CDC confirmed a human infection from contact with infected cattle in Texas. (The first human H5N1 case in the U.S. was identified back in April 2022 in a Colorado prisoner involved in a poultry culling operation.)

Vietnam reported its first recent human infection with the H9N2 avian flu strain on April 8, although 98 such cases have occurred in the Western Pacific region since 2015. Initially identified in Wisconsin turkeys in 1966, H9N2 reportedly infected its first humans in 1998 in China.

Cohen told The Washington Post the CDC is concerned about the recent developments. “We had not seen avian flu in cattle prior to last week,” she said. “That is new. It’s a reservoir for virus to circulate and potentially, change.”

At a recent meeting of top bird flu researchers, doctors and officials, Suresh Kuchipudi, Ph.D., chair of the Infectious Diseases and Microbiology department at the University of Pittsburgh, declared, “We are getting dangerously close to this virus potentially causing a pandemic.”

Kuchipudi’s concern arose from the virus’s wide global spread and growing list of mammalian hosts, according to the Daily Mail.

Epidemiologist ‘not particularly worried’ about H5N1 spreading to humans

While the expanding range of H5N1 mammalian hosts is concerning, there is still no confirmation that the virus has evolved the ability to transmit efficiently between mammals or sustain human-to-human spread — both key factors necessary for pandemic potential, Schachtel wrote on his Substack.

“We have never seen a case of human-to-human spread of avian flu here in the United States,” Cohen admitted to NPR.

Despite reports that the virus had mutated once inside the recently infected person in Texas, the CDC said the mutation had been seen before and the risk to the public was low.

During the April briefing, Dr. David Swayne, a veterinarian and longtime bird flu researcher, pushed back on the prevailing tone. “Right now, for the cattle cases … there is a huge lack of knowledge that we need to fill.”

The “100 times worse than Covid” claim derives from a reported 52% fatality rate from the 2003 H5N1 outbreak (462 deaths among the 887 infected). Experts noted this rate would likely drop significantly if the virus mutated to spread readily between people, as extremely lethal viruses tend to burn out quickly, the Daily Mail reported.

“Once it’s mutated to infect humans, we can only hope that the [fatality rate] drops,” said pharmaceutical and vaccine consultant John Fulton.

Microbiologist Dr. Gabriel Girouard affirmed that if human-to-human transmission emerges, H5N1’s mortality rate will likely drop but could remain high compared to seasonal flu or COVID-19.

Critics argue the sensationalized coverage and selective quoting of worst-case scenarios are fueling undue panic and obscuring more sober assessments of the current H5N1 threat.

“They’ve already started fearmongering over this when in fact, this is an illness that doesn’t spread from person to person,” said Harvey Risch, M.D., Ph.D., professor emeritus and senior research scientist in the epidemiology of chronic disease at Yale School of Public Health, on a recentpodcast.

“It ‘might’ mutate … the ‘might, might, might’ is the fear word,” Risch said. “And that what’s been promulgated out there in order to control the population — you control them with fear. And the media goes along with this.”

Read More

Leave a Reply


Brainwashed: UK Government Report States All Country Airports Will Close By 2029, Sales Of Beef And Lamb Will Be Banned In Order To Meet Climate Objectives

The Anti-Liberal