It’s about time: WHO may finally declare pandemic

After hemming and hawing over fears of causing a panic, the World Health Organization is finally ready to announce the first flu pandemic since the late ’60s. A spike in H1N1 cases in Australia may be the final straw.

Some observers, like Dr. Henry Niman, have insisted that the pattern of H1N1’s spread has met the WHO’s criteria for phase 6, or pandemic, for weeks. What’s more, Dr. Niman says the spread of the 2009 strain, while relatively mild so far, is tracking with ominous precision the pattern of the 1918/19 pandemic, which left about 50 million people dead.

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