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Slow Global Warming


by Gary Brand - written May 9, 2009,
published in the June 2009 edition of Echo* newspaper

Photo of the 2009 strain of influenza H1N1 (swine flu) virus. A microscopic view of the new strain of 2009 influenza H1N1 (swine flu) virus taken in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) Influenza Laboratory.  The little filaments or spikes protruding from the surface of each virus (hemagglutinin and aminidase antigens) give it the ability to penetrate and infect our lung cells and they make the virus deadly.
Courtesy of CDC.

A poster that appeared in Chicago movie theaters during
the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic asking those who were sick to go home. A poster that appeared in Chicago movie theaters during the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic asking those who were sick to go home.  Courtesy of the Office of the Public Health Service Historian.

A temporary flu hospital set up in a gymnasium in Iowa
during that pandemic. A temporary flu hospital set up in a gymnasium in Iowa during the 1918-1919 pandemic.  Courtesy of the Office of the Public Health Service Historian.

CDC posters CDC posters advising those who become sick with the swine flu to stay home and to cover their nose and mouth when they cough or sneeze.

Haskell County, Kansas (west of Dodge City) – where the smell of manure from cattle, pigs, and chickens hangs in the air or is carried by the afternoon breeze across the dry plains.  Dr. Miner had often seen flu in his patients but never before like this – rapid in its grip on the body, with high fever, infecting healthy, robust, young adults, and lethal to a few.  He recognized that this disease was extraordinary and dangerous and, although his warning appeared in the Public Health Reports published by the U.S. Public Health Service, no one shared his concern.  This is where the 1918-1919 flu pandemic is thought to have originated in January 1918 but, because of its initial mildness, it was not considered significant (The Great Influenza, pp. 91-94).  Is the 2009 swine flu similar?  Although history repeats itself, today we have anti-viral drugs, antibiotics, ICU units, respirators, cooperation between public health agencies, and instantaneous communications.  The World Health Organization (WHO) on April 29 raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 5 – pandemic imminent – so at least today’s public health officials are not in denial of the threat as they initially were in 1918.  [On June 11, the WHO raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6 in response to the ongoing global spread of the swine flu (H1N1) virus.  Phase 6 means that a global pandemic is underway - the only pandemic since 1968.]

I write this article not to alarm but to alert my readers, just as the WHO has alerted the world.  What are the parallels between now and 1918-1919?  The 2009 swine flu is an H1N1 virus, it was an H1N1 virus that infected much of the world in 1918-1919, and both of these viruses originated from pigs.  The 2009 strain seems to infect young, healthy adults at a higher rate than other age groups, just like the 1918-1919 virus.  In 1918, the first wave of outbreak was mild with few fatalities, just like the beginning of the first wave of the current swine flu.  In 1918-1919, the flu spread most rapidly on army bases and in large cities – places where people live and commute in close proximity – like Mexico City and U.S. metropolises.

What are the astrological parallels between 1918-1919 and now?  Authorities like Rex Bills (1976) and Dr. H.L. Cornell (1976) associate influenza with Uranus and difficult aspects to it from the other slow moving planets.  From 2008-2010, Saturn is opposite Uranus and this aspect occurred in 1917-1919 as well.  I pointed out this parallel in history as potentially indicating flu pandemic in my November 2008 Echo article "Saturn Opposite Uranus - Old vs. New."  When the first wave of flu began in early 1918, Saturn was 11 degrees from the exact opposition with Uranus but, when the pandemic reached its second and most lethal wave in the U.S. (August-November 1918), Saturn was in very close opposition to Uranus!  The current H1N1 swine flu virus began to infect people in April 2009 when Saturn was about 9 degrees from the exact opposition with Uranus.  Public health officials warn us that the worst infection rate is likely to be this fall and, indeed, Saturn is in very close opposition to Uranus in August-October this year!  Mars and Pluto are the planets associated with Pandemics and infectious diseases (Id.).  President Woodrow Wilson was infected in April 1919 (at age 62, during the third pandemic wave) and never fully recovered before he suffered a major stroke four months later.  When Wilson was infected, transiting Saturn (stress from WWI peace negotiations) was square the position of Uranus (flu) and opposite Mars (infection) in his chart.  I am worried about President Obama because he is a young, healthy man and this virus, like the 1918-1919 strain, hits young, healthy adults hardest.  The president is particularly vulnerable August-September 2009 because that is when transiting Saturn (stress) conjoins and Uranus (flu) opposes Mars (infections, contagions) in President Barack Obama's birth chart.

In the U.S. birth chart, transiting Saturn and Uranus are square the U.S. Mars (contagious and inflammatory diseases), transiting Saturn is conjunct U.S. Neptune (our lymphatic system and hospitals) and transiting Uranus is opposite U.S. Neptune, which could mean that Americans are more susceptible to this virus and that hospitals are overwhelmed.  This indicates that the rate of infection could be high in this country (see the table at the bottom of this page for the number of confirmed cases, estimated total cases, and deaths in the U.S. as of various dates), which is prone to higher rates of lung infections than other nations anyway (because Mars in Gemini – lungs – is square Neptune in the U.S. chart).  In 1918-1919, transiting Saturn was opposite and Uranus was conjunct the Moon (the public, families, homes) in the U.S. birth chart, so most families and homes in the U.S. were affected.

If the Saturn-Uranus opposition was the only influence, I would not be so concerned because the last time this opposition affected the world (1965-1967) there was no pandemic.  However, from November 2009 – March 2010, transiting Saturn is square transiting Pluto.  This or a similar difficult aspect occurred between these planets in 1874-1876 and 1930-1932, both during economic depressions.  So one of the worst effects of a pandemic may be the blow it strikes to our economy and the world’s.

What can give us hope that the 2009-2010 pandemic will result in a lower mortality rate than that of 1918-1919?  This time Saturn moves into Libra and out of the opposition with Uranus at the end of October so the severity of the influenza pandemic may actually abate this winter, not to return as a second wave of sickness until April-July 2010 (when the Saturn-Uranus opposition returns).  By this time, the virus will hopefully have mutated to become less virulent, as occurred in 1919.

What can we as individuals do to survive this threat?  We are warned to take precautions to protect ourselves (like frequently washing our hands) and to minimize the spread to others by staying home if we become infected.  We can also avoid public transportation (closed space, re-circulated air, infected surfaces); avoid elevators, movie theaters and large, indoor, public gatherings; stockpile some food; shop on-line or at odd hours; and eat healthy foods (these are not among the CDC’s recommendations).  If there are no stressful aspects from transiting Saturn, Uranus, Neptune or Pluto to the positions of the personal planets in your birth chart (Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars), you may avoid being infected at all!

This section was added and has been updated regularly since the above article was written.  With the exception of the columns labeled "Estimated Total Cases" and "Death Rate," data in the following table were obtained from the CDC Web site and they show the rapid spread of the disease in the U.S., despite the fact that summer is usually a season with low incidence of flu.  On July 24, 2009, Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases said, "I think this is very unusual to have this much transmission of influenza during the [non-flu, summer] season, and I think it's a testament to how susceptible people are to this virus" (July 24, 2009 CDC press briefing).  By the end of October, the CDC had changed their reporting of flu infection data three times, which makes interpretation of the data over time confusing and makes it appear that they are downplaying how widespread this pandemic is in the U.S.  This table gives a true picture of the cummulative spread of the infection in the U.S., based on CDC data.  At the end of October 2009, Dr. Schuchat stated that all flu cases at that time were swine flu because it is too early in the fall for seasonal flu.  By the end of October 2009, it became blatantly obvious that the CDC staff are trying to hide the extent of flu infection in the U.S. — their report for October 31 is inaccessible and their report for November 7 lists fewer deaths than their September 25 report!  We can no longer trust their data.
Date Reported to CDC Confirmed Cases1 Estimated Total Cases Flu Deaths Death Rate2
May 16, 2009 7,927 158,0003 11 1 in 720 cases
May 30, 2009 13,217 264,0003 27 1 in 490 cases
June 13, 2009 21,449 429,0003 87 1 in 247 cases
June 27, 2009 33,902 1,000,0004 170 1 in 200 cases
July 4, 2009 37,246 1,117,0005 211 1 in 177 cases
July 18, 2009 43,771 1,313,0005 302 1 in 145 cases
Date Reported to CDC Confirmed Cases Hospitalized Cases Flu Deaths Death Rate6
July 30, 2009 no longer reported 5,514 353 1 in 16 cases
August 13, 2009 no longer reported 7,511 477 1 in 16 cases
August 29, 2009 no longer reported 9,079 593 1 in 15 cases
Date Reported to CDC Hospitalized Cases7 Estimated Total Cases8 Flu Deaths7 Death Rate8
September 12, 2009 12,613 9,000,000 884 1 in 45 cases
September 25, 2009 21,942 16,000,000 1,790 1 in 39 cases
October 10, 2009 24,775 18,000,000 2,622 1 in 30 cases
October 17, 2009 98,0008 22,000,000 3,900 1 in 24 cases
After October 2009 CDC data unreliable ——— unreliable ———
December 17, 20099 217,0009 47,000,0009 10,0009 1 in 22 cases

1 This category includes both confirmed and probable cases to better reflect the impact of the virus; July 18, 2009 is the last date the CDC reported this data.
2 The death rate per confirmed case is calculated by dividing the confirmed/probable cases by the number of deaths attributed to the flu.
3 The CDC estimated that only about one case in 20 are reported/confirmed so these data are derived by multiplying the confirmed/probable cases by 20.
4 The CDC estimate reported on ABC's World News on June 27, 2009, which means that only about one case in 30 was reported/confirmed at that time.
5 Apparently by late June, only about one case in 30 was reported/confirmed so these data are derived by multiplying the confirmed/probable cases by 30.
6 The death rate per hospitalized case is calculated by dividing the hospitalizations by the number of deaths attributed to the flu.
7 As of August 30, 2009, the CDC began a new "web-based reporting system" using new case definitions for hospitalizations and deaths.  However,
   instead of adding the new numbers to the cumulative totals of hospitalizations and deaths, they created new cumulative totals commencing August 30.
   To give a comprehensive picture, Gary has added the old cumulative hospitalizations and deaths to the cumulative totals since August 30.  September 1st
   also marked the traditional beginning of the new flu season and this is why the CDC began new cummulative hospitalizations and deaths.

8 On November 12, 2009, NBC Nightly News reported that, based on new CDC estimates, the number of hospitalized cases of flu-like symptoms from
   April - October 17 amounted to 98,000 and they estimated that 22 million Americans had been infected during that period.  The estimated 98,000
   hospitalizations are 3.17 times the number typically reported to CDC from the states so estimated total cases and death rates are based on this multiplier.

9 These data were reported by NBC Nightly News on December 17, 2009, based on new CDC estimates.  At this point, about one in every seven Americans
   had contracted the disease.

Reference Citations Printable version (with the table but without images)

*Echo is a monthly newspaper about community, the environment, health, cuisine, and spirituality that is distributed in central Virginia.
Good Timing and Location are Keys to Success

Gary Brand, Traditional Astrologer
Tallahassee, Florida

© copyright 2009-2013 Gary Brand.  All rights reserved.