“[According to CDC statistics], ‘influenza and pneumonia’ took 62,034 lives in 2001—61,777 of which were attributable to pneumonia and 257 to flu, and in only 18 cases was the flu virus positively identified.”
You might want to chew on that sentence for a while.
You see, the CDC has created one overall category that combines both flu and pneumonia deaths. Why do they do this? Because they disingenuously assume that the pneumonia deaths are complications stemming from the flu.
This is an absurd assumption. Pneumonia has a number of causes.
But even worse, in all the 2001 flu and pneumonia deaths, only 18 revealed the presence of an influenza virus.
Therefore, the CDC could not say, with assurance, that more than 18 people died of influenza in 2001. Not 36,000 deaths, the PR statistic. 18 deaths.