A collective sigh is being let out around the world. More than a year after swine flu was declared a global pandemic, the world has finally entered a "post-pandemic period." The World Health Organization downgraded H1N1 from pandemic status on its six-stage alert system. The virus has killed an estimated 19,000 people worldwide so far, compared with the 500,000 that the WHO estimates die during a typical flu season. People panicked when first learning of what was also called "swine flu," prompting fast-tracked vaccine production, travel restrictions and public health advisories. Some will say this mania was part of a larger plan to sell more vaccine. Those who have lost loved ones to the virus will probably disagree.
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—Nsenga K. Burton