Read our COVID-19 research and news.

Is H5N1 Five Times as Bad as H1N1?

For an eclectic and even rollicking tour of thoughts about the swine flu outbreak, see Stephen Colbert's interview with Laurie Garrett on The Colbert Report. “When you heard that there was a swine flu going around, did you think ca-ching?” Colbert asks Garrett, a Pulitzer Prize–

winning reporter who formerly worked at Newsday and NPR, and wrote the best-selling book The Coming Plague: Newly Emerging Diseases in a World Out of Balance and the 18 May cover story for Newsweek  “Fear & the Flu.” Colbert then asked Garrett if she thought H5N1, the cause of avian flu, was five times as bad as the H1N1 strain driving this swine flu outbreak. Also read Garrett’s 5 May “update” at the Council on Foreign Relations, where she now works. Here’s how Garrett opens her provocative update: “It is hard to believe that only days have passed since the world grew fixated on [the] spread of influenza in Mexico. Harder, still, is coming to grips with the notion that it's all over, no dangerous pandemic is imminent.”