WHO maintains 2 billon estimate for likely H1N1 cases

* Rough estimate of likely H1N1 cases by end is 2 billion

* No precise estimate of current infections

* High proportion of southern hemisphere flu cases are H1N1

* WHO to update on vaccine efforts this week

* WHO names African expert as H1N1 chief

By Jonathan Lynn

GENEVA, Aug 4 (Reuters) - The World Health Organization stuck on Tuesday to its statement that about two billion people could catch H1N1 influenza by the time the flu pandemic ends.

But the estimate comes with a big health warning: no one knows how many people so far have caught the new strain, known as swine flu, and the final number will never be known as many cases are so mild they may go unnoticed.

"By the end of a pandemic, anywhere between 15-45 percent of a population will have been infected by the new pandemic virus," WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi said in a statement.

"Thirty percent is a midpoint estimate and 30 percent of the world's population is 2 billion."

But she added: "We must remember however, that attempts to estimate infection rates can only be very rough."

Early in the outbreak, which was first detected in April, Dr Keiji Fukuda, acting Assistant Director-General of the U.N. agency, fuelled accusations the WHO was creating panic about the disease when he used the two billion figure.

But the WHO, which raised its global flu alert to the highest level on June 11, declaring a worldwide pandemic, has since said the strain is already spreading much faster than previous flu pandemics.

At the same time, because most victims suffer only mild symptoms, it has told countries they no longer need to try to report each case, but concentrate on monitoring suspicious concentrations of the disease and tracking deaths.

AUTUMN RISK

Bhatiasevi earlier told a briefing the WHO was coordinating a network of independent institutions trying to project the total number of cases. Because no one currently has such an estimate, it is not possible to state the H1N1 mortality rate.

The WHO's latest update on July 27 said a total of 816 people had died from H1N1, while the total number of laboratory-confirmed cases, including deaths, was 134,503 -- a figure well below the likely real total of infections which may already be in the millions, according to health experts.

As the northern hemisphere autumn approaches, and with it the onset of seasonal flu, the WHO is working with drug companies to ensure vaccines to cope both with H1N1 and seasonal flu will be available.

WHO spokeswoman Fadela Chaib said the agency hoped to give an update on its vaccine plans later this week. Leading flu vaccine makers include Sanofi-Aventis, Novartis, Baxter, GlaxoSmithKline and Solvay.

H1N1 rapidly became the most commonly isolated virus in flu cases in South America and Australia after seasonal flu started there, Bhatiasevi said. But that may be a distorted picture, because specimens for testing were often associated with events such as school closures or screening of travellers where H1N1 was suspected anyway.

In South Africa, where H1N1 arrived later, many cases of the seasonal flu virus H3N2 were reported, but as the flu season wanes and H3N2 cases decrease, H1N1 has begun to make up a much higher proportion of flu cases there.

The WHO has appointed Dr Mohamed Hacen as project manager for H1N1 in Dr Fukuda's influenza team, Bhatiasevi said.

A Mauritanian, Dr Hacen has served as WHO representative in several African countries and has extensive experience in the field and in communicable diseases.

Copyright 2009 Reuters. click for restrictions

Black Lives Matter protesters sent a shocking, threatening letter to businesses and non-profits in Louisville, Kentucky. The letter made a series of demands related to racial reparations, and threatened consequences if the demands weren't met, the Daily Wire reported.

On the radio program Tuesday, Glenn Beck detailed the letter's list of demands and threats, and pointed out that these tactics are strikingly similar to those we've seen during some of history's darkest chapters.

The letter, which was sent to businesses in the East Market District in downtown Louisville, listed demands such as ensuring that at least 23% of staff are black, providing race and inclusion training for all employees, displaying a written statement professing support for the BLM movement, buying at least 23% of inventory from black retailers, and submitting to external audit.

"Repercussions for non-compliance" to these demands will result in sit-ins and protests being staged outside the business, social media smear campaigns, boycotts, negative media attention, and "invasive reclamation," the letter threatened.

"So, I'm making quite a charge here, but I think it absolutely fits," Glenn said on the show. "Carl Kaufman, the representation that was used by Hitler and his machine, he convinced the youth that they were the answer, they would finally take control, and they would bring equality. [Kaufman said] the Jews controlled everything, and because of the Jews, the Germans really didn't have any freedom. Because of the Jews, they couldn't do anything. They were held down by the Jews. He said, 'We're going to have to boycott those stores. And if those stores don't comply, we will keep our storm troopers outside of the doors.' And they did. They intimidated anyone who walked into those stores. They berated anyone who walked into those stores. They beat anyone who walked into those stores."

"I told you once, that if America goes dark, we'll become the darkest nation ever in the history of the world," Glenn continued. "Guys, we're allowing our nation to go dark. And we're doing it because of fear. Everybody knows this is wrong, but who is going to stand up against it?"

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Shortly after appearing on "The Glenn Beck Radio Program" last Thursday, Los Angeles-based emergency medicine specialist Dr. Simone Gold got a call saying she was fired for speaking out about the efficacy of hydroxychloroquine in a now-banned viral video.

Dr. Gold returned to the radio program Monday to detail exactly what happened, the reason the hospitals gave for her firing, and how they threatened to fire her colleagues as well if she "didn't go quietly."

"Most emergency physicians work at more than one [hospital], as I do, and I've actually been fired from both," she told Glenn. "They told me that I appeared in an embarrassing video, and therefore, I would no longer be welcome to work there ... then they said, if I didn't go quietly and I made a fuss, they would have all the doctors in the group, you know, they'd have to go and they'll get a whole new doctor group."

Dr. Gold said she does not regret speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during the controversial "White Coat Summit" news conference held in Washington, D.C., last week. A video of the news conference quickly went viral on social media before being removed by Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and others for allegedly making false claims related to COVID-19.

"Bring it on," she said. "I want to continue to live in America. I want my children to continue to live in America. I don't want them to grow up in a place like China. When you get to a point where, not only can I not speak as a scientist, as a doctor, for what I know to be absolutely true, but you then want to cancel me and my colleagues, this is not okay. I would much rather fight than not fight ... and I want everybody to know that there are literally millions and millions of Americans who are on our side. Millions. I believe it's the majority."

Glenn then asked Dr. Gold to weigh in on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new guidelines encouraging schools to reopen in the fall and the left's relentless drive to keep them closed.

"There's no actual scientific debate whatsoever if schools should open. None. There's no scientific debate. There's no serious person who thinks schools shouldn't open. Now, [through] some governors and policy makers, there's pressure being brought to bear on school districts, but there's no actual scientific debate. So it's going to come down to parents pressuring their local school districts to act in a responsible fashion."

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Fox News host Greg Gutfeld joined Glenn on "The Glenn Beck Podcast" this week to talk about his new book, "The Plus: Self-Help for People Who Hate Self-Help."

Greg admits he is probably the last person who should write a self-help book. Nevertheless, he offers his offbeat advice on how to save America during what has become one of the most tumultuous times in history, as well as drinking while tweeting (spoiler: don't do it).

He also shares his "evolution" on President Donald Trump, his prediction for the election, and what it means to be an agnostic-atheist.

In this clip, Greg shares what he calls his "first great epiphany" on how dangerous cancel culture has become.

"I believe that cancel culture is the first successful work-around of the First Amendment," he said. "Because freedom of speech doesn't protect me from my career being ruined, my livelihood being destroyed, or me getting so depressed I commit suicide. Cancel culture is the first successful work-around of freedom of speech. It can oppress your speech with the scepter of destruction. We don't have freedom of speech anymore."

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Dr. Simone Gold joined Glenn Beck on the radio program Thursday to set the record straight about hydroxychloroquine -- what it is, how it works, and the real reason for all the current controversy surrounding a centuries-old medication.

Dr. Gold is a board certified emergency physician. She graduated from Chicago Medical School before attending Stanford University Law School. She completed her residency in emergency medicine at Stony Brook University Hospital in New York, and worked in Washington D.C. for the Surgeon General, as well for the chairman of the Committee on Labor and Human Resources. She works as an emergency physician on the front lines, whether or not there is a pandemic, and her clinical work serves all Americans from urban inner city to suburban and the Native American population. Her legal practice focuses on policy issues relating to law and medicine.

She is also the founder of America's frontline doctors, a group of doctors who have been under attack this week for speaking out about hydroxychloroquine during a news conference held outside the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington D.C.

On the program, Dr. Gold emphasized that the controversy over hydroxychloroquine is a "complete myth."

"Hydroxychloroquine is an analogue or a derivative of quinine, which is found in tree bark. It's the most noncontroversial of medications that there is," she explained.

"It's been around for centuries and it's been FDA-approved in the modern version, called hydroxychloroquine, for 65 years. In all of that time, [doctors] used it for breast-feeding women, pregnant women, elderly, children, and immune compromised. The typical use is for years or even decades because we give it mostly to RA, rheumatoid arthritis patients and lupus patients who need to be on it, essentially, all of their life. So, we have extensive experience with it ... it's one of the most commonly used medications throughout the world."

Dr. Gold told Glenn she was surprised when the media suddenly "vomited all over hydroxychloroquine", but initially chalked it up to the left's predictable hatred for anything President Donald Trump endorses. However, when the media gave the drug Remdesivir glowing reviews, despite disappointing clinical trial results, she decided to do some research.

"[Remdesivir] certainly wasn't a fabulous drug, but the media coverage was all about how fabulous it was. At that moment, I thought that was really weird. Because it's one thing to hate hydroxychloroquine because the president [endorsed] it. But it's another thing to give a free pass to another medicine that doesn't seem that great. I thought that was really weird, so I started looking into it. And let me tell you, what I discovered was absolutely shocking," she said.

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