Last month, it’s likely that more than half a million New Yorkers got swine flu and didn’t even know it.
Yesterday the New York Department of Health released a report finding that in May seven percent of New Yorkers experienced a flu-like illness. While this could merely suggest widespread PANIC, city health commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley says the findings probably mean that swine flu has been widespread, though mild, in most people.
The DOH says that during a typical flu season — late fall to early spring — about 800,000 people contract the virus (that’s ten percent of the city’s population). Since flu season is over now, it’s safe to assume that a person experiencing flu-like symptoms in New York (basically a fever, cough, and sore throat) probably has swine flu.
Since April, there’s been 530 hospitalizations and 12 deaths from the virus. The results were based on a random telephone survey of 1,006 New York City households conducted in May.