36,000 annual flu deaths?
The annual, media-inspired drumbeat of impending thousands of flu deaths will soon be in full swing. The death figure formerly bandied about used to be 36,000 annually but the CDC is downplaying that now because too many people caught on to the figure being a marketing ploy and not based on truth. Per the National Vital Statistics Reports (from the CDC) annual flu deaths are much, much lower. This document is never mentioned because its contents undercut its marketing goals.
If you look at page 18 of this edition you'll note there were 457 deaths caused by the flu in 2007 and 849 deaths in 2006. Prior years reveal similar figures. The death rate from pneumonia is much, much higher with annual deaths in the 50,000 range.
You are more likely to die from being struck by lightning while cashing a lotto ticket than you are from dying from the flu. Most flu deaths occur in the very elderly. That fact drives the risk down for the majority of people. To die from just the flu is rare nowadays, including in the unvaccinated population.
The media will not issue a correction about over-reporting flu deaths for years on end because it would embarrass storied journalists, politicians and pharmaceutical reps that have preceded them. It's easier to maintain the manipulation and position oneself for professional advancement.