Eh, who’s counting anyway? Not the WHO any more (h/t Passport). But before your flabbergasted reaction — the World Health Organization is not tracking the number of cases of a disease it has called a pandemic?!? — consider that this is actually a sensible step.

On the one hand, unfortunately, it’s only practical to stop counting; new cases are popping up all over, and, with different countries’ reporting standards, keeping track would essentially be a fool’s errand. On the other, the number of cases is a much less significant fact than HOW the virus is spreading, and how it is being treated. These, of course, the WHO continues to track rigorously.

There are many cases of swine flu; we know this, and we’ll still have a good enough estimate of the number as it grows. But counting the global caseload can lead to a feverish panic over an ever-increasing number. I’d much rather the WHO focus on how to decrease this number.

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