"While the precise impact of the fall resurgence of 2009-H1N1 influenza is impossible to predict, a plausible scenario is that the epidemic could: produce infection of 30-50% of the U.S. population this fall and winter, ... lead to as many as 1.8 million U.S. hospital admissions during the epidemic, ... [and] cause between 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the United States."
—Report to the President on U.S. Preparations for the 2009-H1N1 Influenza, President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, Aug. 7, 2009
Although U.S. President Barack Obama's science advisors were careful to point out that the exact impact of H1N1 couldn't be predicted, no other possibilities besides the "plausible scenario" above were presented in their report. The dire numbers, particularly the 50 percent infection rate, were widely reported in the media. The reality turned out to be far milder. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this fall there were 33,490 confirmed hospitalizations, 1,445 deaths, and 56,410 cases from all types of flu total as of Dec. 5. A bad flu season to be sure, but nothing close to what the advisors were expecting. Visits to the doctor for swine flu declined throughout November and early December.