CDC Leery of Swine Flu Death Estimates

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Government health officials are saying the much feared swine flu is not all it has been cracked up to be.

Despite dire estimates of 90,000 people dying from the swine flu this fall, officials are urging people not to become alarmed. 

"Everything we've seen in the U.S. and everything we've seen around the world suggests we won't see that kind of number if the virus doesn't change," said Dr. Thomas Frieden, head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told C-SPAN Wednesday.

But the CDC isn't taking any chances and is taking steps to prepare for the worst.  

Meanwhile, the White House presented a report Monday from presidential advisers that included a scenario where as much as half the population could catch what doctors have dubbed "2009 H1N1" flu.

"We don't think that's the most likely scenario," CDC flu specialist Dr. Anne Schuchat said of the presidential advisers' steep tally.

Schuchat told the Associated Press that the more likely scenario is that the flu season will begin sooner than usual.

So far the most distinctive quality about the swine flu is the ease with which it can be caught. But it doesn't appear to be any more deadly than the flu strains occurring every fall and winter - and there have been no signs of it mutating into anything more dangerous.

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